There’s plenty for history buffs to do in Knoxville over the next couple of days.
UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture has a brand new exhibit opening on Friday. Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings: Consumer Culture in the Gilded Age focuses on the proliferation of consumer household goods that accompanied industrialization, trade, and travel in the late nineteenth century. The McClung’s permanent collection has a ton of fascinating material from this period, so there should be some really neat objects on display. The museum is hosting a lecture on the era by historian Pat Rutenberg on July 16 at 2:00, so check that out if you’d like to learn more about the era.
On Saturday and Sunday, we’re having our annual Statehood Day Living History Weekend at Marble Springs. Admission is free, and we’ll have reenactors and interpreters on hand for demonstrations and talks at the historic buildings. If you haven’t been to the site, or if you’ve taken the standard tour but have never been to one of our living history events, this is one of the best occasions to visit.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be engaged in some archival work this summer, thanks to the generosity of a couple of funding sources. The David Library of the American Revolution has awarded me a residential fellowship, so I’ll be headed up to Pennsylvania soon to pore over their incredible microfilm collection. (Hope I can muster the discipline to get my research done while being in striking distance of so many Rev War sites.)
I was also fortunate to receive an Archie K. Davis Fellowship from the North Caroliniana Society, which will give me an opportunity to examine Revolutionary War records in the Old North State. I’m very grateful to both the DLAR and the NCS for these research funds; I wouldn’t be able to access materials critical to my dissertation without this support.
Oh, and if you’d like to read a short description of my project and look over my CV, you can now do so at the UT Department of History’s website.
Well, that’s another academic year wrapped up. It’s been a heck of a news week for armored dinos, so let’s kick off the summer with a Gratuitous Dinosaur Post.
Scientists just described a brand-new ankylosaur—those walking tanks from the Cretaceous Period—called Zuul crurivastator. The species name means “destroyer of shins,” which is appropriate for an animal bearing a massive, bony club at the end of its ten-foot tail. The genus name comes from the dog creature in the original Ghostbusters movie, and there’s indeed a resemblance. It’s not just a new dino, but one of the most complete ankylosaur specimens ever found.
And as they say on the commercials, “But wait! There’s more…”
National Geographic is running a piece on another incredible armored dino specimen. This one’s a nodosaur, a close relative of Zuul and its kin, but without the tail club. It, too, is stunningly complete, so much so that it looks less like a fossil and more like an animal that just fell asleep and turned to stone. The keratin sheaths on its spikes, the individual armored plates, scales, tendons—all beautifully preserved. What’s especially cool is that researchers might be able to use microscopic structures in the skin to reconstruct its coloration. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I’ve got a suggestion…