Emily Smith, coordinator of Randolph’s natural history and archaeology collections, and Cai Czuhai ’20 recently presented research from the College’s Natural History Collections at the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections annual conference in Chicago.
Czuhai presented the poster, “Depicting Extinction and Evolution,” which detailed the process Czuhai used to create the life-sized depictions of extinct bird species and their nearest living relatives for a senior art exhibition. Smith presented a paper entitled, “Natural History Collections as Interdisciplinary Crossroads,” which highlighted opportunities for collections-based collaboration between the arts and sciences using the fall 2018 exhibition, Epochs of Nature, as a case study.
In addition to the presentation, Czuhai attended a scientific illustration workshop led by Peggy Macnamara, an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago and artist in residence at the Field Museum. Czuhai also toured the Art Institute and got information on its programs, took two field trips to take photos for future artworks, and joined a project based at Yale which links museums and researchers with illustrators specializing in natural history subjects.
“Cai’s work was much admired by professional biologists, museum specialists, and artists attending the conference, and they made numerous, great contacts,” Smith said. “The experience was very beneficial to both of us.”