Remounting Historical Collections at the UNM Herbarium:
The Brother Arsène Collection
The Bee Plant, Peritoma serrulata, attracts pollinators including a Sphynx moth (Hyles lineata) and two bee species (a sweat bee, Agopostemon sp. and a mining bee, Colletes sp.). The Museum of Southwestern Biology captures these important interactions by preserving examples of these species for research, education, and as a historical record of the natural history of the Southwest.
One older specimen, pictured here, was collected by two French monks, Brother Benedict (Marcellin Marien Lacas) and Brother Arsène (Arsène Gustave Joseph Brouard) who lived in Santa Fe in the 1920s and 30s. Their historically important collection of nearly 2000 plants was donated to the Museum of Southwestern Biology by the College of Santa Fe and is now being restored.
This Bee Plant specimen was collected 89 years ago and recently remounted on acid-free paper to ensure that the entire collection will allow future generations to enjoy and study these early records. The collection preserves not only the plant and its label, but also the sense of wonder of two men who independently made journeys from France to the New World and the American frontier via Cuba and Mexico. Just as a work of art can capture a time and place and sense of connection to a landscape, this Rocky Mountain Bee Plant captures the devotion and curiosity within two naturalists’ lives by preserving their aesthetic and attention to the world that they lived in. Many plants mounted on acidic paper suffer some degradation associated with the passage of time using non-archival materials. Now stored on new paper in cool dry conditions, these specimens should be around for research and re-discovery for generations.
All sheets were imaged in their original condition and the original label has been preserved in an acid-free fragment pack. Curating old specimens is time consuming but rewarding. Old or new, our specimens are available to interested visitors to the Museum of Southwestern Biology, and through their images, now to our global web community.
an Albuqueruque Journal article about the aquisition
an article published online about this historical collection
a list of Brother Arséne Brouard's writings
past news stories