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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Flannery, Maura C. [1], Gregg, Katharine [2].

The Rossbach Herbarium at West Virginia Wesleyan College: A Case Study in Sustaining a Collection.

The history of the George B. Rossbach Herbarium at West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a case study of a small herbarium (WVW) that has not only managed to survive but to thrive in an educational setting. While many colleges and universities have discarded, sold, or donated their plant specimen collections, WVWC has maintained its herbarium, added to it, provided adequate facilities, and begun digitizing and imaging its sheets. The herbarium was named in memory of George B. Rossbach after his death in 2002. He taught biology at WVWC from 1949 to his retirement in 1976. He organized an herbarium upon his arrival and continued to act as curator well after his retirement. He collected a major portion of the 25,000+ specimens in the herbarium, primarily from West Virginia and Maine, but also from other parts of the United States and beyond. The current curator, Katharine Gregg, who took up his teaching position in the Department of Biology in 1976, has also added to the collection, contributing orchid voucher specimens, as well as vouchers for a recent floristic study. Now Gregg retired herself, she remains as curator, overseeing the work of digitizing and imaging the collection, a project funded in 2010 by a one-year grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Division of Science and Research. The grant allowed for the purchase of equipment for digitization. WVWC matched the grant by providing a new workroom and continuing support for a federal work-study student to assist with data entry and imaging. About a third of the collection has already been imaged and the label information input into a database that is accessible 24/7. This work is facilitated by taxonomic coding software designed and shared by the herbarium staff of Eastern Kentucky University, reflecting how WVW collaborates with other herbaria in the region. The WVWC library archivist provided expertise in creating a web portal for the herbarium and hosting the online collection. With continuing support, the herbarium has been well used in teaching and research, with students and faculty contributing to its growth. As such collections become more important in documenting biodiversity and environmental change, WVWC is well placed to participate in these efforts.

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Related Links:
George B. Rossbach Herbarium
Information on George B. Rossbach

1 - St. John's University, Computer Science, Mathematics and Science, 268 Bent Hall, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY, 11439, USA, 718-9901860
2 - West Virginia Wesleyan College, Department Of Biology, 59 College Avenue, Buckhannon, WV, 26201, USA

West Virginia Wesleyan College
George B. Rossbach

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 54
Location: Salon 14/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 3:15 PM
Number: 54002
Abstract ID:373
Candidate for Awards:None

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