Emily Graslie Uses YouTube to Showcase Natural History

Since last January, Emily Graslie has been using YouTube to introduce viewers to the inner workings of Natural History Museums. Graslie hosts “The Brain Scoop,” initially a project out of the University of Montana and is now an entity of the Chicago Field Museum.  She uses her platform to show viewers the wide range of work natural history museums do, as well as forward her belief that everyone is a scientist.

She is also well-known on the internet for her video featuring one of her producers reading the comments she receives sexualizing her and demeaning her work while she spoke about the harm that such comments cause.

That video sparked a discussion online of the treatment of women on the internet in general, as well as the absence of women scientists on the internet.

Graslie graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Art. During her senior year, she began volunteering at the Natural History Museum, cataloguing specimens and prepping them to be added to the collection. She enjoyed the work so much that she stayed on after she graduated and began working toward a graduate degree in Museum Studies.

One of Graslie’s hallmarks is her assertion that everyone can be a scientist. She holds up her Art degree as proof that your degree doesn’t define your career path, nor should it stop you from pursuing a path you are interested in.

Besides the cool feminist work Graslie does, her videos are also really interesting and informative. She breaks down information in ways that are understandable, but never condescending, and her enthusiasm is infectious. The series is an interesting look into the work museums do beyond exhibits, as well as the a glimpse at what goes into dissections and anatomy. With her wide range of topics and guest-experts, there is something for everybody.

Erin Kwederis
University of Michigan

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