Animals in the Attic

February 7, 2020

The third Delaware Teen Science Café of the 2019-2020 school year, Animals in the Attic, at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, was the most unique café held yet in Delaware. Due to the fact that another event was happening at the same time, we took this as an opportunity to go upstairs and explore our collections.

The primary speaker of our café was Alex Kittle, the museum’s invertebrate paleontologist and Collections Manager of Mollusks. He led the tour of the museum’s mollusk collection, which is the tenth largest in North America. He showcased various specimens, ranging from the iconic conch to a deep-sea mollusk that served as the basis for a Greek myth to a tube that a sea snail built around itself.

Upstairs, there were four different stations, being: a tour of our taxidermy, shell sorting, collections digitization, and, featuring the primary speaker, a tour of our mollusk collection. On the tour of our taxidermy, led by Becca Holloway, teens got to see many of our wonderful taxidermy that is not exhibited on the main floor. This ranged from basking in the glory of the majestic turkey, to getting selfies with the hidden polar bear, to quietly admiring the humble walrus. The shell sorting station had two tables. On the first were “alphabet” cone snail shells, which have patterns that the human brain perceives as letters, and the teens got to sort them by perceived letter. On the other table were various shells that the teens had to sort by physical properties. At the next station, we were joined by Matt McGraw, who showed us how he digitally records the museum’s collections. The teens even got to help him take some photographs of some shells!