ITHACA, NY – The Museum of Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) has been awarded $137,419 in federal grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as part of the Museums for America program.

The Museum of the Earth was awarded the funds to create Daring to Dig: Women in American Paleontology, a traveling exhibition highlighting how the contributions of women have shaped the field.

“We are thrilled that IMLS has chosen to fund our project about the contributions of women to the field of paleontology” said Beth Stricker, PRI Director of Exhibitions. “Despite facing many challenges, these women have advanced both practical and academic aspects of the science. Viewed as a whole, their stories will inspire young women interested in STEM fields, and will document a series of important but underappreciated chapters in American history.” This comprehensive, wide-reaching project will bring to light the long-overlooked contributions that women have made to the field of paleontology and will explore the diverse experiences of women currently in the field.

Since 2013, PRI has organized a national outreach project to share the past and present of women in paleontology. PRI received a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2014 to plan and develop a preliminary design and programming for the traveling exhibition. PRI requested funds from IMLS in 2015 to finalize exhibition designs, create programming for teachers and educators, develop a website featuring additional content and video interviews, and to write a book on the subject. The awarded IMLS grant is a matching grant; PRI will have to raise the same amount of funds to move forward with the project.

PRI is uniquely positioned to lead this initiative as an institution esteemed for paleontological discovery and for historically being supportive of women paleontologists. According to Stricker, “PRI founder Gilbert Harris was particularly supportive of women graduate students; at Cornell University he mentored a number of women who went on to significant careers in paleontology, from Carlotta Maury to Lois Schoonover.”

With this spirit, PRI is eager to share the stories of women in American paleontology, from the late 1700s to today.” Project partners, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Michigan State University Museum, will continue to contribute to the project and will be hosting the traveling exhibition after its completion.

More information about Daring to Dig can be found at For additional information on how to contribute to this project, please contact PRI’s Development Department at, or call (607) 273-6623 x11.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research helps libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit

About the Paleontological Research Institution

The Paleontological Research Institution pursues and integrates education and research, and interprets the history and systems of the Earth and its life, to increase knowledge, educate society, and encourage wise stewardship of the Earth. PRI and its two public venues, the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, is an affiliate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.