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Herbaria, are instutitions that collect and preserve plant specimens from various regions. Some are international, and attempt to have comprehensive collections, while others are national, local, or more specialized. I found the process of learning about herbaria to be fun and I appreciated the experience. These collections serve as a store of reference material for researchers who can study specimens over long periods of time. Herbaria are vital to medical, and environmental research and can also serve as seed repositories for rare specimens.
My classmate, Kelsey, who serves on the board of the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists with me, was also really interested in the topic. Together we created a slide presentation you can view here: http://bit.do/herbaria. We visited the Joseph F. Rock Herbarium, here on campus, and had an excellent tour provided to us by Dr. Michael B. Thomas, the Collection Manager. He walked us through the history of herbaria, the various herbaria in Hawaii, answered questions about preservation challenges, and also showed us the process that their specimens go through once they're collected in the field and then brought back to the facility. All the photos above were taken during our site visit.
The video below, from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, was really neat to watch as I neared the end of my research assignment about herbaria. The assignment was part of my LIS 620, Conservation of Library & Archival Materials, course, taught by Deborah Dunn.
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.