Beginning in the late 1950s, WCS expanded its wildlife conservation efforts into Africa, with a particular interest in the establishment and management of national parks. The WCS Archives’ Fairfield Osborn collection includes letters and other documents related to this work, including these pamphlets for African national parks, produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was in Albert National Park (today Virunga National Park) in 1959 and 1960 that field biologist George Schaller, with WCS funding, conducted his pioneering studies into the ecology and behavior of mountain gorillas. WCS Archives Collection 1029. Collection processing made possible through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission Access to Historical Records grant program.
Here are some of the winners of the Animal Art Contest held during Children’s Day at the Bronx Zoo on September 4, 1974. The Education Department used Children’s Day to create events and activities to teach our young visitors about animals and conservation. 📷 WCS Archives Collection 2023. Collection processing made possible through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission Access to Historical Records grant program.
Happy Halloween from the WCS Archives! This vampire bat image was likely taken during a 1934 expedition to Trinidad, where the Bronx Zoo’s first Herpetology Curator Raymond Ditmars and his associate Arthur Greenhall studied the elusive species and brought back specimens for the zoo. WCS Archives Accession 2014.121.
As we get ready to celebrate the close of our Leon Levy Foundation-funded Legacy Digital project, we can take this opportunity to reflect on the work we’ve done and most importantly, the content we’ve transferred from physical storage media dating back to the early 1980s. The contents found on these 1,000 storage media items were, contrary to the image above, a whole lot of something: an assortment of audiovisual documentation, research papers, scientific hard data, meeting minutes, conference proposals and presentations, among other nuggets of insight into WCS’s activities over the past thirty years. Continue reading →
The lobster featured on this New York Aquarium postcard from the 1910s weighed in at a whopping 21 lbs and was 38 inches long. WCS Archives Collection 2016. #lobsters #nationallobsterday #aquariumhistory #archives #postcards @nyaquarium
Follow us there to join our expedition through historical treasures from @thewcs and its parks, @bronxzoo, @nyaquarium, @centralparkzoo, @thequeenszoo, and @prospectparkzoo. Membership brochure featuring the Bronx Zoo’s Gibbon Island, early 1950s. WCS Archives Collection 2016. #bronxzoo #zoohistory #gibbonisland #gibbons #archives
Wild Asia conveys a feeling of remoteness wrapped in a pervasive and palpable stillness, which is broken only by the occasional snort or shrill of one of its 200 animals and birds of Asian provenance, the delighted gasp of visitors seated in the monorail train that makes a circuit of the region or the muted roar of traffic on the nearby Bronx River Parkway.
Since we last left off, we’ve been incredibly busy here at the archives!
For starters, we have been working on capturing the 46 miniDV tapes that were part of the Legacy Digital project’s media selection. You might remember miniDV as the small cassette tape widely used in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Depending on your age, you may have shot your first amateur horror film or skate video on one of these. DV (for Digital Video) is an international standard for consumer digital video created by a consortium of 10 companies, which included Sony, Hitachi, and, Panasonic, amongst others electronics giants. The DV standard uses digital technology to record picture and sound on a high density, metal evaporate tape that is enclosed in a plastic (mini!) cassette. Because miniDV is a tape-based format, it is subject to a similar sort of degradation commonly found on analog videotape, including binder deterioration and mold. In addition, since the tape width is so slim, it is particularly prone to drop-outs, head clog banding, and data loss. To make matters trickier, you’ll need a format-specific camcorder or video tape player/recorder to reformat these tapes.
The advantage of working with highly customizable, open-source tools is the ability to tailor your workflow to the specific needs of your institution or collection. The disadvantage is that you have to customize your workflow, and by that you may find yourself testing configurations in seemingly endless fashion. With so many manually entered steps along the way, a single mismatched configuration can throw pieces of your processing workflow into a tailspin and leave you, hoping, in bouts of desperation, for a one-size-fits-all magical turnkey solution to all digital archival objects for their forever-and-ever-nothing-will-ever-be-lost deep storage.