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About Us

Who we are

The CRM program is currently housed in the Ricard Memorial Observatory, which was renovated in 2008 (asbestos mitigation, lead paint removal, and seismic retrofit). The observatory has three circular domed sections and two “wings”. The east and west wings, the domes, and the basement are fitted with seismically secure shelving and are currently being used for the curation of collections. Below the large, central dome are four rooms for administration, research, and processing collections for curation.

Fr. jerome ricard, for whom the observatory is named, established the first campus observatory in 1895. ricard was famous for suggesting that terrestrial weather is affected by sunspot activity based on his systematic study of sunspots while at scu. while highly controversial at the time, this has become integral to understanding long term weather patterns, critical for weather prediction.

by 1900, santa clara college had installed 4” and 8” telescopes (clark refractor on a fauth mount). the ricard observatory was built from 1924–1928. (image) the 8” telescope was reinstalled in the 1928 ricard observatory. the current 16” telescope was purchased in 1940 from mount lowe observatory in southern california, but was also originally made by alvan clark and sons in 1882 for the warner observatory.

the ricard memorial observatory thus houses not only the archaeological collections from campus excavations, but is a significant historic building with a range of installed historical equipment (early seismographs, clocks, and telescopes).

Intake Area

Staging area for the preliminary tasks of post-field work. Materials from the field are inventoried, assessed for soil sample processing, artifact cleaning, and metal conservation.

Collections Storage and Curation

Rooms are dedicated to the curation and storage of the collections. Shelving units were designed for the spaces and are seismically secure. In addition, each shelf is individually chained so contents cannot slide off in a seismic event. At present, an excess of 6,500 “banker’s boxes” of artifacts are curated in this facility.

Lab A

Houses map cases for our archived maps. The map cases contain archived maps from past research projects, topographic maps, and working maps and engineered drawings from on-going projects. This room also contains extra storage cabinets and work tables for material layout. Photographic equipment and miscellaneous supplies are also kept in these cabinets.

Analysis Lab

The analysis lab is used for research/analysis and data entry/cataloguing. Osteological, ceramic, lithic and metal analyses, cartographic work and report writing are some of the activities that occur here. Type (research) collections for fauna and artifacts are also housed here (these will be discussed further below). Additionally, our reference library, computers, electronic balances, calipers, light table, hand and head lenses, and a digital stereo microscope are kept here.