Dr. Kenelm W. Philip loved giving tours of his moth and butterfly collection to visitors and any of the many volunteers (>600) of the Alaska Lepidoptera Survey, which he initiated. This website allows Dr. Philip’s collection to be seen as it was in 2014 after its move from Dr. Philip’s home following his passing, to the University of Alaska Museum (UAM). Because the Smithsonian supported Dr. Philip’s research, he had made arrangements with the Smithsonian for most of his specimens to be donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). The photos of drawers on this website show the arrangement of the specimens prior to the move of 90% of the pinned specimens to the NMNH.

All the specimens have been grouped into two categories: Beringian sensu lato (in the wide sense) and non-Beringian. Beringia in the narrow sense does not include all of Alaska whereas what we are calling Beringia includes all of Alaska and some additional nearby regions in Canada and eastern Asia. All specimens in these regions are mapped so anyone interested in restricting the data to the more formal definition of Beringia can do so. None of the non-Beringian specimens were databased or mapped. The images of those drawers are provided for visual and historical purposes. The Smithsonian will eventually database those specimens so check with them if you want those data.

The collection drawer photos on this site were taken by University of Alaska Fairbanks undergraduate student Nina Sikes as an employee of the University of Alaska Museum of the North’s Exhibits and Digital Media Department under the direction of Roger Topp.

The National Park Service provided one year of funding for a student Curatorial Assistant, Kathryn Daly, to help with the move, initial inventory, and re-housing of the Kenelm W. Philip Lepidoptera collection into UAM in early 2014 after the passing of Dr. Philip. Kathryn subsequently completed (in 2018) a Master’s of Science degree focused on answering climate-change related questions using Ken’s specimens.

The US National Science Foundation provided funding to UAM via the LepNet project (2016-2020) to help with the digitization of specimen data. These data are publicly available via Arctos which shares data with other public data aggregators such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and SCAN. This funding covered the salaries of two dedicated student technicians: Jayce Williamson and Renee Nowicki who did the majority of the specimen digitization and ground-truthing.

The above two grants were managed by UAM Insect Collection curator Dr. Derek Sikes. Dr. Sikes was elected to be a 2017-2018 CITE Fellow (UAF’s Chancellor’s Innovation and Technology E-learning program), and with support  UAF eCampus Instructional Designer Jennifer Moss, this website was constructed.

We recommend the following for anyone wishing to cite this website: Sikes, D. S., Moss, J., Daly, K., Williamson, J., Nowicki, R., Sikes, N. K., 2019. KWP Lepidoptera Collection. UAF eCampus website https://kenphilipcollection.alaska.edu/ 

The goals of this website are to provide an historical document for this enormously valuable collection and to provide resources of educational and research value.

National Science Foundation
National Park Service
Smithsonian Institution
UA Museum
UAF eCampus