Associate Director, Museum of Geology - Sally Y. Shelton

Shelton, Sally - Associate Director, Museum of GeologySally Shelton is the Associate Director of the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (Museum Science option). Subsequently, she received an M.A. in Museum Science with a thesis in paleontology from Texas Tech University. Sally worked at Texas Memorial Museum as a collections manager and assistant conservator in natural science. She was part of the first group selected for the Collections Care Pilot Training Project at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, sponsored by the Bay Foundation.

Sally was the sole American in the post-graduate diploma program in geological conservation at the Geological Conservation Unit, Sedgwick Museum, University of Cambridge. Her portfolio research was in conservation of meteorites in museum collections, developing and refining tests for measuring mercury emissions from minerals, and the conservation of fossil bone in volcanic ash. She was a delegate and coordinator of a workshop on international fundraising for collections care support at the Second Symposium and World Congress on Natural History Collections in Cambridge.

Prior to coming to South Dakota, Sally worked as the Director of Collections Care and Conservation at the San Diego Natural History Museum, then spent 10 years as Collections Officer, Directorate of Research and Collections, at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She has lectured on museum collections care and conservation issues for the American Association of Museums (Professional Workshop on Collections Stewardship Issues), the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies (Introduction to the Management of Museum Collections), and International Academic Projects, London, for which she developed 4 courses.

Sally has served as President of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, outreach and archives chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, board member of the San Diego Archaeological Center, and chair of the Museum Assessment Program Advisory Board (American Association of Museums). She is a course co-organizer and lecturer for the Curation of Natural History Collections course sponsored by the U. S. Department of the Interior Museum Management Program.

Currently Sally teaches museum and paleontology resource management classes at SDSMT, manages the Museum of Geology collections, and works with the Museum’s Federal, tribal and state stakeholders. She represents the Museum of Geology at the Journey Museum and advises the Journey on geology- and paleontology-related issues. She is active in several community organizations, including the Northern Hills Bird Club and the Darton Geological Society.

Dr. Sally Shelton was named the 2014 recipient of the national Dudley Wilkenson Award of Distinction from the American Alliance of Museums.  Read more.

Selected publications

_____. 1994. Conservation of vertebrate paleontology collections. In Handbook of vertebrate paleontology techniques, ed. P. Leiggi and P. May. Cambridge University Press. pp. 3-33.

_____ and J. S. Johnson. 1995. Conservation of subfossil bone. In Conservation of palaeontological materials, ed. C. Collins. Butterworths (London). pp. 59-72.

_____. 1997. The effect of high market prices on the value and valuation of vertebrate fossil sites and specimens. In The Value and Valuation of Natural Science Collections, ed. J. R. Nudds and C. W. Pettit. London: The Geological Society. pp. 149-153.

_____, P. S. Cato, and P. Unitt. 1997. Proceedings of the symposium on Federal and international scientific permits. San Diego Natural History Museum.

_____. 2008. Byne’s “disease” and care of specimens in storage. National Park Service: Conserv O Gram series. McDonald, H.G., A. Elder and S.Y. Shelton. 2005. Care of Paleontological Collections. National Park Service, Museum Handbook, Part 1, Museum Collections, Appendix U:1-52.

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The Musuem of Geology is operated by the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.