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Museum curation: More than mummies and man-eating plants

I suspect that when people hear that I’m a Museum Curator they think of that evil Curator of the British Museum who resurrects the mummy Imhotep from the dead in “The Mummy Returns”. Sadly, my job doesn’t entail raising any long-dead Egyptian priests. Nor do I nurse giant man-eating plants with my own blood and the occasional visitor to my lab a la “The Little Shop of Horrors”. In this blog I will be describing in a bit more detail what a Curator of Botany really does do all day. I’ll be writing about the exhibits that I’m working on, the research that I’m doing and the collections that I’m studying.

But first of all you may be wondering who I am and how I ended up here. I grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and it was there that I developed a passion for biology and a love of grasslands, spending many hours of my youth riding my bike along the paths bordering the South Saskatchewan River Valley. I proceeded to get a Bachelor’s degree, then a Masters, then a (glutton for punishment that I am) Ph.D. Ultimately all the hard work was worth it because I was offered my dream job here at The Manitoba Museum in 2003. Moving to Manitoba gave me an opportunity to study the rare tall-grass prairies-an ecosystem that I had never seen before. I will be sharing a bit of what I’ve learned about them with you in this blog.

The Tall-grass Prairie Preserve in southern Manitoba.

The Tall-grass Prairie Preserve in southern Manitoba.

So if your curiosity is aroused I hope that you will check out my blog on a regular basis. Summer will soon be here and I’ll be able to tell you all about my field work. In June I’m going mushroom and lichen hunting in Whiteshell Provincial Park. In July and August I’ll be studying pollinators in Birds Hill Provincial Park, and in September I’ll be hunting for some rare plants along the lakeshores and sand dunes of southern Manitoba. Till then you can check out my soon to be posted blog on an exhibit I just helped to prepare called “Natural Wonders: A Celebration of Biodiversity.”

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Dr. Diana Robson

Curator of Botany

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Dr. Robson obtained a Master’s Degree in Plant Ecology and a Ph.D. in Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan. She has been working at the Manitoba Museum since 2003, conducting research mainly on rare plant and pollination ecology.