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  • Collection Research Grants

    Jean Woods

    The Collections & Research Division of the Delaware Museum of Natural History announces the availability of graduate student grants in support of research in the Museum’s collections. The award will be used toward travel and lodging expenses for a student to visit DMNH to study our world-class collections and library. Eligible students must be enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program and pursuing collections-based research leading to publication. Students do not need to be U.S. citizens and may be attending a school outside the U.S.A.


    Applicants should submit a research proposal (not exceeding two pages) outlining the thesis project and specifically the work to be accomplished at DMNH, a brief CV, a budget, and one supporting letter from a faculty advisor. Requested amounts may be up to $1,000 for travel within the U.S.A., up to $1,500 for travel from outside the U.S.A., and cannot exceed the actual cost of travel. Applicants wanting to conduct research requiring destructive sampling or dissection should review our Policy on Destructive Sampling (http://www.delmnh.org/birds/) and submit the requested information as part of their application. Applications may be submitted electronically or by standard mail. Application deadline is May 1 each year and travel must occur before the end of the year.


    Students can apply for an additional $100 honorarium if they give a short (30 minute) presentation on their research to the general public while at the Museum or write a 200-word article for the Museum’s newsletter or blog. Presentations/articles do not have to be on the research being done during the museum visit but may be on any collections-based or natural history research the applicant has done in the past. A short description of the proposed presentation or article should be included with the grant application.


    DMNH Collection Research Grants are made possible by the Museum’s Society of Natural History of Delaware Fund. The fund was created in 2015 to provide perpetual financial support of programs for the cultivation and study of the natural sciences at the Museum.


    The Collections


    DMNH’s Bird Collection is worldwide in scope, with special strengths in North and Central America and the Philippines. Approximately 67,000 study skins, 11,000 skeletons, and 2,500 spread wings represent over 4,000 species. The bird egg collection comprises another 36,000 specimens, forming the second largest egg collection in North America. Applicants are strongly encouraged to investigate our holdings prior to submitting an application. Information about skeleton, wing, and study skin holdings is available at www.vertnet.org or www.idigbio.org. Requests for information about our egg collection should be sent to Jean Woods, Curator (jwoods@delmnh.org).


    The DMNH Mammal Collection contains approximately 6,000 specimens prepared as study skins, skulls, and skeletons. Approximately half were collected in the Philippines in the 1960s and the remainder are from the United States, with a good collection of material from the Delmarva Peninsula. Requests for information about the mammal collection holdings should be sent to Jean Woods, Curator (jwoods@delmnh.org).


    Address bird and mammal applications and inquiries to:
    Dr. Jean L. Woods, Curator of Birds
    Delaware Museum of Natural History
    P.O. Box 3937
    Wilmington, DE 19807-0937
    Phone: (302) 658-9111 ext. 314
    Fax: (302) 658-2610
    TTY: (800) 232-5460


    DMNH’s extensive Mollusk Collection consists of more than 2 million specimens and 18,000 species in over 220,000 cataloged lots. The collection contains all seven living classes of Mollusks, but is predominantly marine gastropods (50%), freshwater and land gastropods (25%), marine bivalves (15%) and freshwater bivalves (5%). Geographic strengths include the Indo-West Pacific and the Caribbean; approximately 7% of the collection is from the Philippines. Most specimens are recent; however, there is some Cenozoic fossil material. Major collections include the Norton Philippine Mollusk collection, the R.W. Jackson landsnail collection from Central and South America, the Shriner fossil collection, and the Weaver-duPont Volutidae collection. In addition, we have over 1,200 type lots described in two annotated type catalogs (Nemouria issues 36 and 41).


    The Mollusk collection is not currently available on line. Requests for information about our holdings can be sent to Mr. Alex Kittle, Collections Manager (akittle@delmnh.org or 302-658-9111 ext. 311).


    Please address applications and grant-related inquiries to:
    Dr. Liz Shea, Curator of Mollusks
    Delaware Museum of Natural History
    P.O. Box 3937
    Wilmington, DE 19807-0937
    Phone: (302) 658-9111 ext. 319
    Fax: (302) 658-2610
    TTY: (800) 232- 5460

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