The Legacy of a Lifetime of Collecting:
The Carl & Marian Rettenmeyer Story
A Traveling Interactive Natural History Exhibit
Intro to the Interactive Exhibit
About the Exhibit
“The Legacy of a Lifetime of Collecting: The Carl & Marian Rettenmeyer Story” is an interactive exhibit inspired by a remarkable natural history collection of army ants and their hundreds of closely associated organisms, or "guests." The collection was assembled over the course of 50 years of fieldwork in South and Central America by the late Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer.
Visitors to the exhibit journey from collecting army ants in the jungle to preserving specimens in the Biodiversity Research Collection facility. Through experiences designed for touch-interactive screens, visitors can observe army ant swarm raids in the jungle, notate field card observations, examine slides in the collection with a digital microscope, study specimens in Cornell drawers, and explore the life-work of Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer through an interactive timeline.
The exhibit was created through a close collaboration between the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and the University of Connecticut’s Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Digital Media & Design, which came together as one of a number of multi-disciplinary endeavors across our campus, now known as “AntU”. The exhibit was designed to travel to multiple locations to share the wonders of the complex biological system of army ants and their guests with as broad a spectrum of audiences as possible.
The exhibit was created with the support of the National Science Foundation Collections in Support of Biological Research Program and the University of Connecticut Provost’s Office Academic Plan Competition.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Biodiversity Research Collections
Museum of Natural History
Leanne Kennedy Harty
Department of Digital Media & Design
AntU Traveling Exhibit Course
Exhibit Digital Media Art Direction
Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Illustrations
Exhibit Design Process
Images from the Exhibit
SELECT Guest Book Comments from Visitors to the Exhibit
Future The interactive exhibit will travel to University of Connecticut regional campuses for exhibition, and will be available for display at additional locations.
Ongoing The interactive exhibit is on display in the Stevens Gallery of the Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
Fall 2018 “The Legacy of a Lifetime of Collecting: The Carl & Marian Rettenmeyer Story” exhibit opens to the public at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus
Spring 2018 Ten students enroll in a special topics “AntU Traveling Exhibit Design” course within the Digital Media & Design Department at University of Connecticut designed by Anna Lindemann, and co-taught by Anna Lindemann and Michael Toomey, where they participate in developing designs, illustrations, and animations for the interactive exhibit.
Spring 2017 The AntU initiative receives $250,000 in funding from the University of Connecticut Office of the Provost to support 16 endeavors integrating science, fine arts, and humanities, including the development of a traveling exhibit about the Carl W. and Marian E. Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection.
Spring 2016 The National Science Foundation awards a $500,000 grant to the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut to preserve and curate the specimens, and create a publicly available online database for the Collection.
2015 The Carl W. and Marian E. Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection is donated to the Universtiy of Connecticut. The collection, amassed during more than 50 years of fieldwork in Central and South America, consists of over 2 million specimens of army ants and their guests, over 7,000 microscope slides, over 6,500 photographic slides, and 7,000 field cards.
To find out more about the exhibit, or if you’re interested in hosting the exhibit, contact CSMNHinfo@uconn.edu