Gussie Maccracken lands new Curator of Paleobotany role at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

POSTED: 02/07/2023

Meet Our New Curator of Paleobotany



Julio Poletti, Manager of Media Relations & Communications 


 [email protected] 





DENVER—The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is pleased to welcome Dr. Gussie Maccracken as the new Curator of Paleobotany. Dr. Maccracken is an American paleobotanist and is a question-driven scientist with a broad knowledge of different plant and insect groups and has a profound interest in the evolution of plants, herbivorous insects and their interactions in the fossil record. Dr. Maccracken is the first woman to hold this position in Museum history.  

"Dr. Maccracken is uniquely qualified and positioned to lead us in the curation of new collections and guide the Museum in impactful discoveries," said George Sparks, Denver Museum of Nature & Science president and CEO. “We are excited to see what new discoveries she finds.” 

Dr. Maccracken’s work experience includes teaching laboratories for undergraduate students at University of Maryland and conducting research at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, as well as working at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s fossil preparation laboratory; Gussie knows the Museum well because she had earlier stints from 2010–2013 as a Paleobotany intern, Snowmastodon intern, Snowmastodon preparation assistant, fossil lab technician and assistant fossil preparator.  She is a true Museum success story who regards the Curator of Paleobotany position to be her ultimate dream job.    

Blog: Meet Gussie Maccracken, the new curator of paleobotany at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.   

Dr. Maccracken received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Colorado College in 2011 and earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. 

“I am excited to dig fossil leaves all over Colorado to understand how ancient landscapes changed through time in our own backyard,” Maccracken says. “I study the evolution of plants using their fossil record. My research focuses on how plants shaped past environments and how plants interacted with animals, such as the mammals and insects that ate these ancient plants. Humans are a part of nature whether we realize it or not and I want to use paleontology to understand how the Earth has changed through time to understand the impacts of human activities on our planet.” 

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About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science 
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. Our mission is to be a catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Museum offers a wide variety of engaging exhibitions, programs, activities, and scientific research to inspire public appreciation and understanding of the wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. Information: or 303.370.6000. Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. The Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and TikTok. 


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