Brazos Valley: Where Art Meets Science

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Art and science go hand in hand in the Brazos Valley. From finding beauty in the latest technology to seeing the roots of science in old Texas A&M photographs, the Brazos Valley can take you down memory lane as fast as it can catapult you into the future. Accordingly, two local museums have put together exhibits that explore this connection.

TAMU MSC Reynolds Gallery presents “oVert: Vertebrate Exploration in 3D” until Sept 21

Until September 21, the Memorial Student Center Visual Arts Committee will present “oVert: Vertebrate Exploration in 3D” at the Reynolds Gallery. Appealing to anyone interested in science, art, or animals, this exhibit features current research from the A&M Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections. It contains thousands of unique specimens, showcasing the preservation work the BRTC is doing and allowing this research to be shared for public enjoyment.

The Open Vertebrate Exploration in 3D project – “oVert” uses scanners that are specially designed for human and veterinary medical usage. The BRTC, A&M Libraries, and the Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies are working together to scan specimens that have previously only been available in a few collections worldwide, which means scientists have been unable to study them in any depth. With these new scans, however, the specimens are now available to thousands via the free database MorphoSource.

The 3D technology used to scan specimens will attract those interested in tech, such as architects or engineers whose fields use 3D modeling, and also those attracted more by the artistic elements of the scans themselves. MSC Visual Arts Committee Advisor Mary Compton commented, “The detail of the specimen anatomy and the colors used to show the different tissues is stunning…the work on display is fascinating in the level of detail that the scans produce.” Compton went on to say, “For scientists, this work is incredibly important because it allows other scientists from all over the world to use and study specimens that we have in the BRTC at Texas A&M.” For instance, one scan on display in the Reynolds Gallery is a clingfish. According to Compton, the scans will enable scientists to study the unique anatomy of the clingfish’s specially adapted suction discs and manufacture better suction devices for everyday household items. 

If you’re looking to pique your interest in something new, check out “oVert” at the Reynolds Gallery in the MSC until Sept. 21.  

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History presents “Fossil Fever: The Legacy of Mark Francis” until Jan 11, 2020.

This exhibit focuses not only on Dr. Francis, the founder of Texas A&M’s veterinary school, but on his discoveries and contributions of fossils and artifacts. With a display of old veterinary equipment, rare old images, specimens and the history of the A&M Museum, this is an adventure back in time with one of the “founding fathers” of the Brazos Valley.

The contents of this collection – which was designed by museum curator Dr. Rebecca Ingram, can be attributed to the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections, The Veterinary Collections of the Texas A&M University, the Medical Sciences Library, the Francis Family, the S.M. Tracy Herbarium and Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. Since the purpose of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is, as the website states, “to stimulate understanding of the dynamic relationships between people and their natural environment and to encourage responsible stewardship of all natural resources,” this exhibit has special meaning for the museum. Whether you are a history buff or just want to know a little more about the roots of Brazos Valley, be sure to check out the Fossil Fever exhibit!

Visit https://vac.tamu.edu/ for information regarding the “oVert” exhibit, and visit http://bit.ly/2HyWZmM to find out more on the Fossil Fever exhibit.

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Anna Villalobos
Anna Villalobos is a Sophomore Journalism Major and Performance Studies Minor in the Liberal Arts department at Texas A&M University. She thrives on a diet that consists mostly of sweet tea and online window shopping. Anna can usually be found at St. Mary's Catholic student center, with her hair piled atop her head and her phone at 1% battery, contemplating whether to take a nap or buy her 3rd Starbucks of the day.

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