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Emily Graslie: From Art to Artifacts

Written By: Dominika Wlodarczyk

Finding a true passion for something can happen at any point in your life. Emily Grasile found hers while she was finishing college. On Tuesday November 14, Emily Graslie came to Aurora University to share her story.

Graslie began by talking about the left brain/right brain theory and how it may not be all that relevant to everyone. Graslie was studying to be an art major at the University of Montana. Her specialty was painting beautiful landscapes. For her thesis project, Emily painted a landscape 8ft tall and about 13ft wide, titled 20 Miles East of Faith. While Graslie was at the University of Montana, she went to the zoological museum that they had on campus and saw a piece called The Evolution of a Feather. Graslie was very intrigued by the series of drawings. Shortly after that, she started volunteering at the museum.

When Graslie saw all of the different specimens at the museum, she felt very connected to the history, and began to photograph and draw them. Graslie wanted to connect with other people who had a passion for zoological collections, so she decided to create a blog to share her work. Graslie set up an art show on campus to raise awareness about Montana’s natural history. Her blog brought her to the attention of Hank Green. Green is a very popular creator on YouTube with a large following. He gave Graslie a visit at the museum and filmed her giving a tour for an episode of Volgbrothers. After the visit, Green asked Graslie if she would be interested in hosting her own YouTube show. That is how Emily got started with Brain Scoop. Brain Scoop started producing episodes in January 2013. The show had its big break when Graslie devoted six episodes to the museum’s acquisition of a wolf. In April 2013, Graslie and her producer flew to Chicago to film the Field Museum’s annual members’ night. While there, Graslie was asked by Bill Stanly, the collections curator, if she would be interested in producing a show like the Brain Scoop at the Field Museum.

Since then, Graslie has been producing episodes for Brain Scoop at the Field Museum. The videos consist of interview-style videos, research focused interviews, solo hosted videos, and even small expeditions. When asked what she loves the most about her job, Graslie responded with, “incredibly challenging but incredibly rewarding. There is always a new challenge and a new project.” The Field Museum gave Graslie the first ever job title of “Chief Curiosity Correspondent.”