Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


Environmental Studies


Leah H. Joseph

Committee Member

Deborah Barkun

Committee Member

Robert Dawley

Department Chair

Patrick Hurley

Project Description

The natural world holds a variety of wonderful and intriguing minerals and fossils that reveal information about the history of life and our planet. Access to collections of the natural world can be limited by distance, cost, transportation, etc. These restrictions prevent a variety of learners from exploring geology and paleontology and discourage the growth of observational skills. Creating a digital display that is aesthetically pleasing, scientifically accurate, and effective in communicating, can nurture a viewer’s need for learning and exploration.

At Ursinus College, the halls are filled not only with over a thousand mineral and fossil samples comprising The Pieces of Earth’s History Geological Collection, but also students who want to learn from this resource. By expanding the collection to the digital world, its educational value, accessibility to broader audiences, collaboration between departments and institutions, and preservation of the collection has the potential to increase. Although small, through digitization and online display, the collection may help develop informal and formal learning experiences not only for the people on campus but also beyond, and not only the field of geoscience, but also biology, chemistry, physics, and math as well as history, not to mention art and photography.

Using a platform known as Digital Commons, photographs of the fossil collection have been uploaded to the digital space along with scientific information and resources. A design proposed to update and enhance the physical display is also described and illustrated along with ideas for future projects as the website is ever-expanding.