Front right: Francis “Frank" Denecker Brooks (grandson of William and Sarah Brooks) and his wife Sarah Ann Brooks. Rear left: Lillian Brooks (daughter of Frank Brooks) Rear right: Bessie Brooks (daughter of Frank Brooks). Middle woman unidentified. Courtesy of Bettye Howe Saunders

Traveling Together: Slavery, Landscape, and Historical Imagination

In his February 2020 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander shares reflections on landscape and memory, emerging out of his historical research on enslaved and free families of color in Washington, D.C. before the Civil War. Recently, he has been able to connect with the living descendants of one of

Continue reading
Jim Harding holding a turtle

Nature’s Ambassadors: Saluting “The Critter Guy,” Science On a Sphere, and a Newborn Black Rhino

What “gifts” do we receive from the natural world, and how do we reciprocate this daily bounty? In his January 2020 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the retirement of James Harding, one of the longest-serving staff members in the Museum’s history. For decades, Jim has been an

Continue reading
“Science On a Sphere” Ribbon Cutting Ceremony From left to right: Mark Auslander (MSU Museum Director), Diane Byrum (MSU Board of Trustees Chair), April Clobes (MSU Federal Credit Union President and CEO), Teresa Sullivan (MSU Interim Provost)

I’ll be Back: Celebrating the “Terminator” and the Winter Solstice through Science On a Sphere

In his December 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander ponders the ways in which Science On a Sphere, the Museum’s newly installed technological marvel, helps illuminate the dynamics of the approaching winter solstice. As we enter the darkest period of the year, Science On a Sphere is a powerful

Continue reading
Science On a Sphere Group Photograph From left to right: (front row) Mark Auslander (MSU Museum), Teresa Goforth (MSU Museum), Nick VanAcker (MSU Museum), Elesha Newberry (MSU Museum), Stephanie Palagyi (MSU Museum) (middle row) Dylan Mooney (Superior Electric), Amanda Tickner (MSU Libraries), Terence O’Neil (MSU Libraries), Christine Lockwood (IPF) (back row) Keith Searight (NOAA), Ian McGinnis (NOAA), Sunny Wang (MSU Museum), Mike Secord (MSU Museum), Jason Brown (IT Services), Ian O’Brien (IPF), Denice Blair (MSU Museum), Mike McEwan (IPF), Guy Halsey (IPF) photograph by Pearl Yee Wong

Theaters in the Round: Community Voices and Citizen Science on a Sphere

In his November 2019 letter, MSU Museum director Mark Auslander reflects on varied ways in which the Museum works to nurture creative connections with public stakeholders across the arts and sciences. These partnerships allow us, together, to tell challenging and thought-provoking stories about where we have been and where we

Continue reading
Black Kirby artists with Julian Chambliss signing four prints that are now part of the MSU Museum’s collection. From left to right: (Left) John Jennings; (Center) Julian Chambliss, John Jennings, Stacy Robinson; (Right) Stacy Robinson

Superheroes, Remixed: “Black Kirby” and Re-housed Vertebrates at the MSU Museum

In his October 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s new curator of history, Dr. Julian Chambliss, a specialist in black superheroes, and on the museum’s recent award of an important Federal grant, allowing for the rehousing of thousands of animal specimens in our Natural Sciences

Continue reading
Elephant bird skeleton from Bone Clones, Inc.

Elephant Birds and Where to Find Them

In his September 2019 letter, Museum Director Mark Auslander ponders the imminent arrival at the Museum of an articulated skeleton of an elephant bird, the largest bird ever known to exist. What lessons about evolution and adaptation might this gargantuan flightless bird help us learn? Why did these birds become

Continue reading
Arpillera depicting the home of poet Pablo Neruda.

Singing the Future: Between Absence and Presence

In his August 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on how works of art may simultaneously dramatize a void of great loss while also serving as staging grounds for re-imagining productive futures. His examples are drawn from the Museum’s current exhibitions of Chilean arpilleras, highlighting the tumultuous era

Continue reading
“Ashley’s Sack” is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (On loan from Middleton Place).

Between Mourning and Hope: Our Smithsonian Journeys

In his July 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the MSU Museum team’s recent visit to the annual Smithsonian Affiliations conference, a gathering of the nation’s many museums affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian has declared 2020 to be the year of “Earth Optimism,” dedicated to

Continue reading
Dire Wolf skull in the Hall of Evolution at the MSU Museum

Game of Wolves: The Dire Wolf between Nature and Culture

In his June 2019 letter, MSU Museum director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s display of a dire wolf, a powerful predator here in North America that became extinct around 9,000 years ago. In recent years, the image of the “direwolf” has seized the global imagination, thanks to the novels

Continue reading
Representative Elissa Slotkin viewing the "Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak" exhibit

We Never Know How High We Are: “Finding Our Voice” As Creative Canvas

In his May 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on some of the unexpected instances of creativity inspired by the Museum’s new exhibition, “Finding our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak.” Although chronicling a history of human rights violation and institutional failures, the exhibit is already proving to be a

Continue reading