American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) collection of fossil insects essentially began with donations of Florissant shale specimens to the museum that had been described by A.L. Melander. There are turn of the 20th century accessions of Baltic amber purchased from Ward’s Scientific Establishment and the donation of a 3,000-specimen collection of insects from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil. Prior NSF funding (to Dr. David Grimaldi), focused on the Crato material and included curation and publication of a dedicated volume (Grimaldi, 1990, Editor). Dr. Grimaldi has assembled what is arguably the most scientifically important collection of amber in the world that includes collections from the Holocene (copal) of Zanzibar, Kenya, Tanzania, and Colombia; Miocene of the Dominican Republic and southern Mexico; Eocene of the Baltics, Arkansas, Washington state, Wyoming, southern Alaska, and from Gujarat, western India; and Cretaceous (amber) from Lebanon, northern Myanmar, New Jersey and Alabama. There are nearly 500 holotypes in the amber collection alone. Recently, the AMNH collection received funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services for conservation treatment of the holotypes and very rare specimens in amber (about 650 specimens), using EpoTek-301 embedding and coating techniques that have been refined at the AMNH. The AMNH hosted a training workshop for the TCN on amber imaging in Year 2 and will complete digitization of 60,000 specimens and georeference 100 localities.