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#SendAPostcard Project 

During this time of physical distancing and closed doors, we wanted to provide a way for people to connect with us and each other in a tangible way. We have sent small packets of pre-stamped postcards that feature parts of our collections to members and to people who may not be able to engage digitally. 


We hope to continue this project and expand the postcards and recipients of these packets. Find out more about our current postcards below.


Arts & Culture Collection — Marla Sybilla Merian, Study of Butterflies, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Chrysalis, Hand-colored copperplate engraving from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (Transformations of the Insects of Suriname), Amsterdam, 1719, Museum Purchase, 2016.7.2.

This print has captivated a few museum staff. It is a favorite of Katy Malone, the Curator of Academic Programming, for the McClung and is serving as the inspiration for one of our #StitchTogether embroidery patterns based on our collections. Check out the first pattern here and check back to see the release of the pattern based on this print! 

Study of Butterflies, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Chrysalis is also going to be part of the upcoming exhibition Women’s Work, set to open Spring 2021.

Malacology Collection – Left: Ringpink (Obovaria retusa). Tennessee River, Tennessee. 1984. Catalog No. 00179. Right: Elephantear (Elliptio crassidens). Cumberland River, Tennessee. 1979. Catalog No. 02615.

 With 300,000 cataloged and uncatalogued specimens, the malacology collection is the largest freshwater mollusk collection in Tennessee, and one of the largest in the US. Mussels are important indicators for climate & water health. Recently Gerry Dinkins, Curator of Malacology at the McClung has been conducting field work in Alabama.

Read about it on the blog!


Arts & Culture Collection – Althea Murphy-Price, Perfect Works, 2014, from the portfolio Drawn from the McClung Museum, 1/30, Gift of the Artist, 2015.1.20.

Althea Murphy-Price is a Printmaking Professor in the School of Art at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Learn more about her and her work on the School of Art website.

Drawn from the McClung Museum was an innovative exhibition project involving 28 artists, each of whom produced original prints in response to objects from the collection of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. Learn more about the exhibition here.


Archeology Collection – A discoidal is a round game stone that was used in the Native American game known as chungke or chunkey, which was played during the Mississippian, Protohistoric, and early Contact eras (ca. 600 CE – 1850 CE).


The objects in the photograph are game pieces called discoidals (sometimes called chunkey stones). This game had many names, including chunkey, chunky, chungke, tchung-kee, or the hoop and stick game and was played cross-culturally across what is today the United States with some slight variations between regions. This game originated around 600 CE in the Cahokia region of what is now the United States (near modern St. Louis, Missouri). It continued to be played after the fall of the Mississippian culture (around 1500 CE) and into the early colonial era. It was played by rolling disc-shaped stones across the ground and throwing spears at them in an attempt to land the spear as close to the stopped stone as possible. Chunkey was played in large arenas (up to 50 acres wide) that could seat large audiences and was designed to bring people of the region together. 

Chunkey is discussed in the books: Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians by Timothy R. Pauketat (2004), Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography by F. Kent Reilly and James Garber, eds. (2004), The Southeastern Indians by Charles M. Hudson (1976)



You can explore the McClung Collections further here and see more of our Museum At Home initiatives here.

If you received one of these packets or a postcard, we would love to know how it has impacted you. Please take this short survey (Estimated time to complete: 2 min).

If you would like to support this project, email us