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Fly on the Wall 

March 31, 2008

Playing leapfrog

The Academy’s largest research department, Entomology, has been playing a complex game of leapfrog with their research specimens and cabinets. They have 14.5 million insects and arachnids in the collection – housed primarily in 450 9-foot-tall white cabinets (below, left). The catch is that all those cabinets had to be emptied before going into moving trucks, which posed quite a logistical challenge.

36 carts
32,000 wooden drawers full of pinned specimens (above, center) take up a lot of room – you can’t just set them all aside while you move all the cabinets. So, instead they’ve been doing it in waves: move some cabinets, move some insects, cabinets, insects, cabinets, insects…

Over the course of about 4 weeks, the wooden drawers were transferred from their white cabinets to metallic transport carts (above, right), and trucked over to Golden Gate Park in batches. And every other day, another 48 white cabinets were moved over. That way, when each batch of metallic transport carts wheeled into the new building, there were empty cabinets waiting to be filled up.

As of today, the bulk of the pinned specimens are safe and sound in their new home, while the butterflies, moths, and a sampling of beetles are patiently awaiting their turn to move.

Filed under: Great Migration,Research Departments — Helen @ 9:16 am

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