Out in the Field

Motorcycle Sidecar

This was not the only way Goldring traveled to do fieldwork, but it was probably the most fun.  Photo courtesy of the New York State Museum


Fieldwork involved recording, studying, and sampling fossil beds and formations in a certain region.  This was an important phase of research, because without going out to see the landscape and bringing back samples, scientists could not correctly interpret fossils, create maps, or put together exhibits. Goldring loved doing this kind of research, and when the pressure of her other duties overwhelmed her, she often escaped to the outdoors.  Her colleagues sometimes joked that if she could spend all year doing fieldwork, she would.

The amount of money museums could give their researchers for summer projects varied according to the type of work, the number of people asking for funding, and the museum's budget.  In 1930, the Department of Paleontology had $200 to divide among its staff for fieldwork. Scientists also applied for summer research grants.  The National Academy of Sciences awarded Goldring $75 in 1922 for a personal research project in the Gaspé region of Canada.  Converted to current values, each researcher had a budget of about one thousand dollars for room, board, equipment, travel, and pay.  

How much money do you think it takes to do cutting-edge research now?

Paleontology in the 1920s
Out in the Field