Welcome to Flagstaff

By Lauren Amundson

On April 17, 1894, the citizens of Flagstaff wrote a letter to Percival Lowell’s assistant A.E. Douglass expressing their support for the establishment of an observatory in town. This included the title to ten or fifteen acres of land and a “good wagon road” to the observatory site. Eighty-two people signed the letter, including prominent names such as Babbitt and Riordan. The entire document is available here.

1894 letter

The Big Chill

By Lauren Amundson

Literally the coolest feature in the Putnam Collection Center, our walk-in freezer helps ensure that pests don’t migrate into the collections repository. Before we move any items into the repository, we freeze them for two weeks at minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. There are some materials that can’t be frozen, but for everything else we box it up and wrap it in plastic sheeting to prevent condensation from forming on the box. We label the boxes and keep track of all collections going into and coming out of the freezer on a spreadsheet.

After two weeks, we remove the boxes from the freezer and examine them for insects or other pests. If they’re clean, we move them to the repository. If we see any signs of infestation, we quarantine the items until we can evaluate them further.

On the few 90-degree days that we get in June, we love to stand in front of the open freezer for a few seconds to cool off!


Wrapped boxes ready for the freezer