A Project from Wesleyan's

Craft Sea Critters

Click on stars to view specimen details

From April 6 to May 9 the display case in Usdan is housing the Crafting Sea Critters exhibit!
In an attempt to highlight the beauty of ocean ecosystems as well as raise awareness of their vulnerability, the Joe Webb Peoples Museum asked the Wesleyan community to “Craft Sea Critters.” The project consisted of workshops teaching people how to crochet, the distribution of “grab bags” with yarn and hooks, and drop boxes placed around campus for submitting creations. This exhibit is the culmination of our project, a multimedia representation of oceanic ecosystems, incorporating both living and extinct species, and pulling together multiple museum collections with our beautifully crafted critters created by the Wesleyan community. See a full list of specimen names above and a list of people who contributed below.

Boxfish (Ostracion), locality unknown

Dolphin jaw (Delphinus sp.), locality unknown

Fossil Shark teeth (Carcharocles), Oligocene (~25 Million years), Charleston, South Carolina

Porpoise skull (Phocaena), Connecticut River

Sea Turtle (Idiochelys fitzingeri), Cerin, France (cast)

Northern fur seal skull and jaw (Collorhinus ursinus), St. Paul's Island, Alaska.

Large turtle (Stylemys nebrascensis), ~ 27 million years old, Nebraska

Sea Turtle (Platychelys oberndorferi), Solnhofen, Germany (cast)

Sanderling (Calidris alba), donated in 1868

Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), probably collected near Anondaga Lake (NY), 1851

  • Bag fastener (Cup’ig), Nunivak Island, Alaska, ca. 1870s
  • Fishhook and Line (Marshallese) Marshall Islands (Aelōn̄ Kein) 19th century
  • Incised dolphin mandible, 'scrimshaw', ca. 19thcentury


Sea Gull (Larus argentatus), Cromwell, CT (collected 1877)

Coral-eating fish (Pycnodus elegans), cast, Solnhofen, Germany

Neptune's Cup Sponge (Cliona patera), lives in Indonesia/Vietnam

Extinct angel-shark (Pseudorhina acanthoderma), cast, Solnhofen, Germany

Moon snails (Polinices duplicatus) encrusted with barnacles (Semibalanus), occupied by hermit crabs (Pagurus longicarpus), probably North Atlantic.

Sun Stars (starfish), probably Crossaster papposus.

Sea Pansies (Renilla reniformis), related to corals.

Basket star (Gorgonocephalus), related to starfish).

Floating sea lily (Saccocoma tenellum), Solnhofen, Germany

Agaricia agaricites, and Acropora sp., from the Joe Webb Peoples collection, 3D-printed in the IDEAS workshop

Hoploscaphites brevis

Placenticeras placenta

Eutrephoceras dekayi

Baculites sp.

Eutrephoceras dekayi, Hoploscaphites impression, and c. Baculites sp. 

Heteroceras sp.

Porites nodifera

Millepora alcicornis, West Indies

Porites nodifera, Bermuda

Porites furcata, Colon, Panama

Inoceramus labiatus

Pyrite (FeS2), common mineral in 'black smoker' type hydrothermal vent

Gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), common mineral in 'white smoker' type hydrothermal vent

To learn more about the crafting sea critters project check out our exhibit and project details page linked below.

Cole Goco SeaScapes

An array of painted underwater environments were featured prominently on the walls of Usdan alongside the specimens and crafted critters of the Craft Sea Critters: A Look at Oceanic Ecosystem exhibit. These seascapes were created by Cole Goco ’23, a recently graduated student curator for Joe Webb Peoples Museum. His artwork can be seen in the art gallery bellow.

Cole Goco Plesiosaurus & Ichthyosaurus 2020 Ink & watercolor
Cole Goco Plesiosaurus & Ichthyosaurus 2020 Ink & watercolor
Cole Goco Barnacles 2018 Watercolor & marker
Cole Goco Placenticeras placenta 2022 Ink & watercolor
Cole Goco Tide Pool 2018 Watercolor & marker
Cole Goco Hydrothermal Vent 2018 Ink & marker on mylar
Cole Goco White Manta Ray 2020 Watercolor & marker

Exhibit Contributors


Lily Rudofsky ’25: Crochet concept, student curator of Recent Coral Collection

Cole Goco ’23: Artwork, student curator of Pierre Shale Collection

Lilly Hochhauser ’25: Student curator of Solnhofen Collection

Fletcher Levy ’23: Student curator of Fossil Vertebrate Collection, Osteology

Anya Le ’25 and Vivian Gu ’23: Taxidermy Birds Collection

Alexandre Baker ’24: student curator Turtles


Kate Brunson: Assistant Professor of Archaeology (Archaeology Program) and Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies (College of East Asian Studies)

Ann C. Burke: Professor of Biology, Emerita (Biology Department)

Ellen Thomas: Smith Curator of Paleontology of the Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrative Sciences, Emerita (College of Integrative Sciences)

Johan C Varekamp: Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology of the Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, Emeritus (Earth and Environmental Sciences Department)

Technical Assistance:

Joel T. LaBella: Facility Manager (Earth and Environmental Sciences Department)

Jennifer Platt: Manager of Print Services (Information Technology Services)

Shawn M Lopez: Makerspace Coordinator (College of Integrative Sciences)

Financial Support:

Donation by Mrs. Penny Peoples
Wesleyan Grants-in-Support-of-Scholarship to Ellen Thomas
Museum endowment by Henry Monmouth Smith


Alyse Wicentowski

Ana Ziebarth

Betsy McCormick

Brittney Rosenberg

Cheryl Hagner

Drew Weddig

Ellen Thomas

Emma Specht

Isa Cino

Jaydie Halperin

Jennifer Hadley

Kathryn Willebrand

 Lily Rudofsky


Liz Boyle

Lori Stethers

Lucia Rea

Nate Kianovsky

Nola Mansour

Olivia Berger

Sam Burr 

Sandy Frimel

Sarah Parke

Sarah Timble

Shelissa Newball

Teaghan Dunbar

Wendy Berlind


site contents

Event details


Grab bag information and locations

Drop off locations

“The Beauty of Coral Reefs” story map

Organizations and projects to support

Additional resources

Project goals

Our People


Send us a suggestion for a pattern you want on the website, or ask how you can get involved!