Mary Henry’s Journey to a Tropical Valley

Mary Henry’s Journey to a Tropical Valley


Mary Gibson Henry Expedition Photographs


A Museum Loan Brings BC Specimens Home

Natural history museums lend specimens to each other to learn more about biological diversity. It takes cooperation and a network of experts to improve species identifications in museum collections. Biologists that group plants and animals into categories are called taxonomists. Taxonomists need to see many different samples of a species from throughout its geographic range (where it lives) to make sure that they have recorded all of its variations. They use this information to write new or revised descriptions of species and groups of related species.

In 2015 the Royal BC Museum received a loan of plant specimens collected by Mary Gibson Henry from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. By lending and borrowing specimens, museums share vital information and work together to improve our knowledge about the vast number and diversity of plants and animals on Earth.


British Columbia Plant Specimens Collected by Mary Gibson Henry

These specimens were collected by Mary Gibson Henry during her botany expeditions to British Columbia in the 1930s. Because Mary Gibson Henry was American, the plants she collected on her expeditions did not stay in BC. Most of them are now held in collections in Philadelphia and Scotland. The specimens below are from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia

Most of these specimens were collected during Mary Gibson Henry’s first expedition to BC in 1931, which was recorded in film. View part of the film in watch.  Some of the plants Mary Gibson Henry has tucked into her saddlebags in the film are likely the very ones you are looking at here.



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