By Mike Servedio and Carolyn Belardo
What do you do when the highest ranking Mongolian officials in the U.S. pay a visit to your museum? You make them feel at home by showing them your collection of specimens from their home country.
That’s what Academy scientists and hosts did yesterday when they arranged a behind-the-scenes tour of the Entomology and Ichthyology collections which contain aquatic insects and fish specimens from Mongolia that Academy scientists have collected and studied for many years.
Altangerel Bulgaa, the Mongolian ambassador to the U.S., and Och Od, the Mongolian ambassador to the United Nations, came to Philadelphia to see the Franklin Institute’s Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life about the ancient Mongolian warrior. And they came to the Academy to meet the scientists who have conducted research in their country, worked with researchers from other countries who have joined their research projects, trained Mongolian scientists, donated scientific supplies, and provided other opportunities over the last two decades.
Munhtuya Goulden, Museum Connect Project Coordinator, led the ambassadors through the museum exhibits.The opossum diorama in North American Hall really caught the eye of one ambassador who knew the “play possum” expression but had never seen the animal in the flesh.
They visited the Vertebrate Zoology Collection, where they saw Thomas Jefferson’s mastodon fossils, Hadrosaurus foulkii and Tiktaalik roseae. And they met with the Philadelphia public high school students in the Academy’s Women in Natural Sciences program who are involved in a yearlong climate change exchange with their teen counterparts in Mongolia.
We hope you enjoy this photo show of the occasion as much as the Academy enjoyed playing host.