We are pleased to share our ongoing research comparing the permanent collection of bird, mammal, and marine life specimens of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History to our own Natural Sciences Annex, which currently exists as a portfolio of vintage photographs.
Viewers are invited to observe for themselves how closely these two collections resemble each other, and compare the displays of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History to our archive of photographs, and see how the specimens once may have appeared when — we believe — they existed as part of our founding institution, The New Museum of the Pacific: A Repository of Wonders, located in the San Francisco area from approximately 1907-1921, originally founded and operated by Dr. Mycenae T. Consonant, PhD.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What prompted the creation of the Natural Sciences Annex of The Repository?
A: As we work to build the collections, we look to the example set by Dr. Mycenae T. Consonant, as The Repository is based on an inheritance of objects from this institution. Unfortunately, a great deal of the original objects were sold, destroyed, or otherwise scattered through the years, and the only evidence of their existence today is a portfolio of photographs. These photographs are the basis of most of our research.
Q: How and when was the similiarity between the two collections first noticed?
A: Several years ago, the current curator of The Repository was visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, and during a tour of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, she noticed a startling resemblance between the mussel shell on display and the vintage photograph of a mussel shell (ca. 1909) on file in The Repository archives. The shell was photodocumented, and the images were superimposed. The two were an almost perfect match, launching further research and eventually this project — as well as a temporary move to Halifax for the curator, allowing for close proximity to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History.
Above: Mussel Shell, 2011, Nova Scotia Museum
Below: Mussel Shell (cyanotype), ca. 1910, archive of The Repository of Wonders
Q: The evidence seems to be mounting that a large part of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History’s displayed permanent collection may once have been part of The New Museum of the Pacific (now The Repository of Wonders). How will this affect the work of The Repository in the future?
A: The staff of The Repository will continue to research similarities between the collections as well as possible provenance histories that might be available. We look forward to any collaborative efforts that the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History might entertain between the two institutions with regard to these findings.
Q: How can I be a part of The Repository of Wonders and their research projects?
A: If you have any artifacts that may be related to the original collections of Dr. Mycenae T. Consonant, PhD, or The New Museum of the Pacific, please contact: info@repository of wonders.org.
Sample Photos (note that the photos shown here represent only a very small part of this collection):
Above: Star Moles, 2014, Nova Scotia Museum
Below: Star Mole in Excelsior Lined Crate, ca. 1910, archive of The Repository of Wonders
Above: Cormorant, 2014, Nova Scotia Museum
Below: Cormorant in Basement, ca. 1910, archive of The Repository of Wonders