Meteorites in Institutional and Public collections of Switzerland
Matthias Meier (Nature Museum St. Gallen), Beda Hofmann (Natural History Museum Bern), Sandra Scherrer (Nature Museum Winterthur), Henner Busemann (ETH Zürich), Christian Sprecher (Naturama Aargau), Christian Püntener (Natural History Museum Fribourg), Edwin Gnos (Natural History Museum Geneva), André Puschnig (Natural History Museum Basel), Silvan Thüring (Nature Museum Solothurn)
Meteorites are true extraterrestrials – pieces of other worlds. Researchers use them to gain and publish fascinating insights into the formation and history of the solar system, including Earth itself. Many museums and universities in Switzerland have small collections of meteorites, which are often in poor shape, in particular in smaller institutions. For example, these meteorites do not have modern names, classifications, and are often not stored in an ideal way. Some very rare and scientifically important meteorites from these collections go unnoticed for decades because no one knows about them! Therefore, the goal of this project is to create a digital, central inventory of all meteorites in institutional and public collections in Switzerland, so that these meteorites become accessible for scientific research. Another goal of the project is to help museum curators to take good care of their meteorite collections. For these purposes, a researcher will be sent to all museums and universities with meteorite collections to compile a complete and modern inventory. The resulting data table will be published Open Access (free to read) in a scientific journal and integrated into the future “Swiss Virtual Natural History Collection” (SVNHC) once it becomes available.