Artifact of the Week: Megalodon Tooth

The scientific name “megalodon” means “big tooth,” which perfectly describes this extinct species of shark. Not only was megalodon the biggest shark in the world, but it was one of the largest fish to ever exist! Its massive teeth are almost three times larger than the teeth of a modern great white shark. Megalodons swam… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Elephant Sculpture

This intricately detailed elephant sculpture made of ivory features symbols significant in ancient Chinese culture. The crane is a symbol of noble character and represents longevity, long-lasting love and loyalty in marriage. The lotus flower on top symbolizes the heart and mind’s ultimate purity, and is used for religious purposes, in marriage symbolism and food… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Giant Emperor Scorpion

One of the largest scorpions in the world, the Giant Emperor Scorpion is native to the rainforests and savannas of West Africa. Surprisingly, they have an almost harmless sting nonlethal to humans, and are known for their docile behavior. As a result, they have become a popular scorpion in the pet trade, which has led… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Chicago Sunday Sun-Times

Three days before Apollo 11 launched into history, the Chicago Sunday Sun-Times released this special newspaper. With an illustration of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the Moon, the story detailed parts of the mission. Unfortunately, the writer incorrectly stated that Armstrong would step foot on the Moon in the early… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Smithsonite

Smithsonite is a mineral ore of zinc which typically forms as a globular mass instead of as crystals. This particular specimen has a bluish-green appearance due to copper impurities. The mineral smithsonite was named in honor of English chemist and mineralogist James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian Institution, who first identified the mineral in… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Carriage Lamp

This solid brass lamp is called the “Neverout Insulated Kerosene Safety Lamp.” Patented by Rose Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, it was made for a horse or horseless carriage, bicycle, or early automobile. It has a large clear magnifying front lens and two jeweled ruby red lenses that could be seen from behind and from the… Continue reading

Artifact of the Week: Juvenile Ostrich

The common ostrich is one of two living species of ostrich, the large flightless birds of Africa. Although they cannot fly, these birds were meant to run. They can sprint up to 43 miles per hour, and their thick, powerful legs can cover large distances with ease. At just one-month old, ostrich chicks are able… Continue reading

Terracotta Votive Head

This votive, also called a protome, is a three-dimensional terracotta mold. It depicts a female with stylized hair and clearly defined features including a realistic nose, eyes and mouth. Votives in general have mostly been found in sanctuaries and graves and occasionally in homes. They may represent a female devotee and were given as an… Continue reading

Dental Powder “Orthoform” ca. 1920s

Orthoform is a white, crystalline, odorless, and tasteless powder that is slightly soluble in water. Dentists would prepare a compound of the powder with water, then give to patients to relieve pain after a tooth extraction or to treat oral diseases. The compound worked as a local anesthetic and antiseptic, but was only effective when… Continue reading