We Love ASU Collections Tour

Xenos Skeleton

The 7th annual "We Love ASU Collections" event had 20 ASURA members & guests attend and contributed to one of their highest attendance in years. A good time was had by all. Many Galleries and Collections were toured learning more about history, culture and natural sciences in different buildings on the Tempe Campus. We enjoyed lunch at the new restaurant "Engrained" on the 2nd floor of the Memorial Union. Many commuted by Tempe Orbit free shuttle bus system for the first time.

The event turned everyone into energizer bunnies because we kept them going, going, and going until we wore out the soles of their shoes while re-energizing their brains. We would like to thank the following individuals who provided lectures: Rebekah Tabah, Arizona Historical Foundation; Karrie Porter Brace, curatorial/museum specialist Luhrs Reading Room; Dr. David Williams, School of Earth & Space Exploration; Dr. Michelle Minitti, Asst. Dir. Center for Meteorite Studies; Meg Hufford, coordinator Mars Education Program; Daniel Matlaga, coordinator Planetarium; Lynn Lucas graduate student with the Institute of Human Origins & Susan Irwin, Interim Director AZ Historical  Foundation / Co chair of the event.

This tour for ASURA members and their guests started at 8:30 a.m. at the south side of the Old Main Building.

From Old Main, we went to the Institute of Human Origins in the Social Science Building Room 103. Here we saw a cast collection of fossil human ancestors - one of the largest of its kind in North America. It includes the only complete cast collection of Australopitecus afarnensis (the species to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belongs) (30 minutes).

Next was the Planetarium in the Bateman Physical Science Center, F Wing, where we met in the Lobby area. The Planetarium presentation ran 40 minutes. Subjects drawn from science, literature and mythology and culture made this an interesting experience.

We moved on to the R. S. Dietz Museum of Geology in the lobby area of the Bateman Physical Science Center F Wing. We saw minerals, gems, and fossils from around the world and the only active seismograph in central Arizona, six story Foucault pendulum, and mammoth bones from Chandler, Arizona (30 minutes).

After enjoying the geology exhibits we met at the Memorial Union for lunch and drink, which were included in the tour (45 minutes).

After lunch we saw the Space Photography Lab in the Bateman Physical Science Center F556, one of a network of eighteen Regional Planetary Image Facility data centers established by NASA to archive planetary images for use by the scientific and educational communities. SLP houses images and documentation from all space missions, an extensive library of mission documentation, scientific journals and earth and planetary publications (40 minutes).

At the Hayden Library Arizona Historical Foundation, Room 412, we saw a small part of the holdings with their 50th anniversary show (30 minutes).

Last on our list was the Center for Meteorite Studies in the Bateman Physical Science Center C139. We had hands-on touch of meteorites from one of the world’s largest and best collections. This is home to specimens from over 1500 separate meteorite falls; the Center’s collection is actively used for geological and space-oriented research by scientists.

Story prepared by Bill Stasi, Chair of Travel Committee