Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections April 2014 - (Page 36)
by Ann Pinzl
Our members play many different roles from collection
management and conservation to databasing and informatics
to research and education. Many of our members come from
a traditional research background while many of our new
members are coming into the field from the museum studies
field. Our hope is to introduce our membership to a variety of
individuals who are playing very dynamic roles in their museum's activities. We are casting our net broadly and selecting
individuals from institutions of all sizes and backgrounds.
What is your name?
What is your position?
University Curator of Fossil and Rock Collections
Where do you work? When did you join SPNHC?
The Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the
Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where I have
worked for 7 years. I am a new SPNHC member, having
joined last year, 2013.
Bernhard Zipfel with one of his charges
What drew you to the natural history field
I came from the health sciences (podiatric medicine) with a research interest in the evolution of the foot. This drew me into
the field of palaeoanthropology and broader palaeontology.
Describe the nature of the collections you work
I curate all fossil and associated collections (including casts,
teaching material and teaching slides) at the University of the
Witwatersrand. Fossil holdings cover Therapsids and dinosaurs from the Karoo, fossil plants, plio-pleistocene fauna
(including one of the world's largest hominid collections) and
comparative extant mammal collections.
What are your responsibilities for them?
Supervise, manage and administer the large technical staff to
accomplish curatorial requirements of the university collections and their progress; budgetary control of departmental
funds allocated to curation and maintenance of collection;
accession of all new collections material into the suitable collections catalogue and ensure material is appropriately stored
to be available for future research; regular examination of all
collections ensuring that each item is appropriately stored,
noting deterioration and attempts to address problem; review
of all outstanding material loans and paperwork relating to
material loans, export and temporary export permits; scholarly research in natural sciences and publication of results in
peer reviewed journals; supervision of post-graduate (Masters
and Doctoral) students.
Describe some of your activities.
Assisting visiting students and scientists with access to the
various fossil collections; chairing a number of committees,
including the Fossil Access Advisory for application for access; fieldwork and conducting scholarly research on collections; supervision of post-graduate students; educational
outreach where appropriate; collections visits for interested
groups and potential funders; lectures and seminars.
What do you find most interesting about your
Assisting scientists in obtaining access to fossils and facilitating their work in as efficient a manner as possible, and carrying out scholarly research and publishing the findings.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I recently became an NRF Rated Scientist (C2 category). This
is a National Research Foundation rating in which researchers with an international standing are recognized and receive
The descriptions of the foot and ankle and biomechanics of
36 * SPNHC Newsletter
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections April 2014
From the President
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections April 2014