by Abbie Leland

Photo credit: Samantha Stember. Butterfly specimens, which are part of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, are currently housed at Cordley Hall. But soon, the OSAC and Herbarium Collection will be moved to the Research Way Lab Building and housed there for the next two years as renovation work takes place at Cordley as part of the Cordley Hall Renewal Project.

Work for the Cordley Hall Renewal Project is scheduled to begin in June. The three-phase renovation will provide modernized and updated infrastructure to the 236,000-square-foot building, as well as transform it into a modern learning and research space.

Cordley is home to two natural history collections: The Herbarium and the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, which will need to be relocated to the Research Way Lab Building for the next two years while renovations occur.

Moving the 3 million specimens included in the arthropod collection, which is the largest insect collection in the Pacific Northwest, and the half a million vascular plant, bryophyte, algal and fungal specimens included in the Herbarium, is no easy feat.

“It would have been complex enough as it were, but with COVID-19 measures now overlaid on top, it is even more complex,” said Dr. Christopher Marshall, curator for the OSAC.

Marshall, along with others like Herbarium Director Aaron Liston, Blaine Baker, one of the building managers for Cordley Hall, OSAC Director Dr. David Maddison, and College of Science employees, are working to finalize a move plan to safely transport the collections.

Marshall, for example, is helping with the move of more than 8,000 wooden and glass-topped drawers filled with delicate dried specimens. Many of the specimens are over 100 years old and include specimens from around North America and the world.

“And that material serves as an invaluable resource for local biologists, land managers, conservationists and others who need to have reliable examples of exotic species for their research and professional needs,” he said.

The specimens will be moved out of their cabinets and carefully placed onto palettes in order. “Then they’ll be stored until the movers can unmount their cabinets, move those over to Research Way, and install them,” Marshall said.

Once moved, everything will need to be unpacked in order, so that the collection is usable at the Research Way Lab Building, all without damaging any specimens.

Once the Cordley Hall renovations are complete, the collections will be moved back to the building, where they can be more prominently displayed. According to a recent article featured in the College of Science’s Impact Magazine, the collections will be housed on the second floor of Cordley. The new building will increase the impact of these assets and engage students and members of the public who visit Cordley Hall.

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