In October 2021, the ReConnect Team visited the Mammals Collection at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology in an effort to get to know the natural sciences side of the Philippine collection. We met Cody Thompson, the Mammals Collections Manager, who gave the ReConnect/ReCollect team a tour of the facilities. In addition to seeing interesting mammals from the Philippines like the endemic Tamaraw, we also learned that over 8400 plant specimens and 300 bird species from the Philippines are housed in the Michigan Herbarium and Museum of Zoology. The size of this Philippine collection at Michigan is largely due to the legacy of Joseph Beal Steere, who travelled the world on behalf of the University making collections in zoology, botany, and archaeology. In addition to visiting the Amazon, the Andes, and China, he spent 10 months in the Philippines in the 1880’s, where he collected birds, shells, and other natural objects.
The ReCollect/ReConnect team intends to include the Museum of Zoology’s collections in our larger effort toward reparative curation. This begins by taking a full inventory and conducting an assessment of harm caused by these collections.