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Jaeger Museum awarded $10k NEA grant

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Smiley, the saber tooth tiger, is located on the second floor of the Campus Center. J.Z. Gilbert excavated Smiley from the La Brea Tar Pits and donated it to Lordsburg College in 1916. Osteologist Eugene D. Fischer mounted Smiley, using a dire wolf’s long tail bones to make the tail. The permanent exhibit is part of the Cultural and Natural History Collections, previously named La Verne College Museum. The museum contents are located in the Jaeger House on Second Street, east of D Street. Thanks to a new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jaeger House will be able to create a new online archive. / photo by Aryn Plax

Smiley, the saber tooth tiger, is located on the second floor of the  Campus Center. J.Z. Gilbert excavated Smiley from the La Brea Tar Pits and donated it to Lordsburg College in 1916. Osteologist Eugene D. Fischer mounted Smiley, using a dire wolf’s long tail bones to make the tail. The permanent exhibit is part of the Cultural and Natural History Collections, previously named La Verne College Museum. The museum contents are located in the Jaeger House on Second Street, east of D Street. Thanks to a new grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jaeger House will be able to create a new online archive. / photo by Aryn Plax

Catalina Diaz
Staff Writer

The Jaeger House, at Second and E streets is the University of La Verne’s very own historical research museum.

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $10,000 Art Works grant to the Jaeger House for its online archives, adding yet another accomplishment to this historical repository’s collection.

The Jaeger House, named after naturalist Edmund C. Jaeger, is home to the Natural and Cultural History Collection.

The approximately 1,000 sq ft building has hundreds of artifacts, some dating to the Pleistocene epoch, or the Ice Age.

“People get creeped out,” Collections Curator Anne Collier said about the human skeleton residing inside the tight-spaced repository.

Collier worked with Collections Director and Professor of Anthropology Felicia Beardsley on the grant. Collier is also responsible for the museum’s social media representation.

“The NEA grant is huge,” Collier said, adding, it’s the “brass ring of grants.”

The museum’s NEA grant is for digitizing art projects, which is Beardsley’s goal.

She plans to have an online presence by the end of spring 2018.

“My goal is to be accessible to anybody and everybody in the world,” Beardsley said.

The NEA grant will allow students, researchers and anyone interested in learning access.

Receiving this grant helps the collection tremendously, however there are many other projects that Beardsley and Collier hope to accomplish.

“Donations are always welcome,” Beardsley said. “It would be nice to have a bigger facility and to have a research room,” she added.

In 2016, Beardsley and Collier relocated “Smiley” – also known as ULV’s First Leo – to its new home on the second floor of the Campus Center.

Smiley is a major accomplishment for the two researchers. The complete saber-tooth cat skeleton was donated to the University by James Z. Gilbert, an early excavator and Los Angeles High School biology teacher.

“So many people fell in love with that cat,” Beardsley said.

Volunteers came in droves to help Beardsley and Collier move Smiley.

“Not everyone can do that,” Beardsley said.

Smiley was installed on his centennial birthday.

“This was my shining, proudest moment,” Beardsley said. “We brought the community together.”

Although many students are unaware of the Collection, they are able to enjoy the exhibits throughout the campus.

Katherine Diaz, a sophomore accounting major, was seen recently admiring Smiley.

“It’s so awesome,” Diaz said. “It should be more visible though – it needs to be appreciated.”

Currently, Beardsley and Collier are lodging their collection wherever they find room within the Jaeger House.

More than 1,100 NEA grants have been allocated to conserve and foster the importance of institutions and collections such as the Jaeger House’s.

In the current political climate, many in the arts and cultural communities have been afraid that all government funding for the arts and humanities will be cut.

Although the fear still lingers, Beardsley said the grant has given her some hope.

Currently there are nine exhibits from her collections on display throughout the La Verne main campus.

Many of the materials collected were donations given to the University over the past 125 years.

Among the donations are those of alumni, including field papers from educator and biologist, Edmund C. Jaeger himself.

In addition to the NEA grant, the University also has it’s very first presence at the Los Angeles County Fair.

The “Magical World of Dragons, Wizards and Beasts” housed in building 10 inside of the Fair is host to “weird, bizarre, kooky and creepy stuff,” Beardsley said.

Catalina Diaz can be reached at catalina.diaz@laverne.edu.

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One Response to Jaeger Museum awarded $10k NEA grant

  1. John D September 22, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Very well done Catalina, I found this article extremely informative. You brought attention to the museum that a lot of people probably had no idea about. Great job, keep up the excellent journalism.

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