Linda Welzenbach

Meteorite Collections Manager
Close-up of  Linda Welzenbach in an orange parka, ski cap, and glasses holding a meteorite in front of snow and a blue sky.
Linda Welzenbach holds a meteorite in Antarctica. Photo from Smithsonian Institution/ANSMET.

Linda Welzenbach, the Smithsonian’s meteorite collections manager, works to preserve the National Museum of Natural History’s storehouse of “space rocks” for future generations. While growing up in Ellicott City, Maryland, Linda took an interest in her uncle’s mineral collection and later accompanied him on rock-collecting trips. Once she settled on a career in geology, she majored in the subject at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she took care of the geology department’s mineral museum. After finishing her master’s degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1992, Linda came to the Smithsonian to work on the Geology, Gems and Minerals exhibit before assuming her current post in 1999.

As collections manager, Linda distributes meteorite samples to scientists around the world and tracks all the scientific advances that result from the Smithsonian’s collection. She enjoys giving tours of the collections to prospective young scientists, and twice she has gone camping in Antarctica to look for new types of meteorites on the southern ice cap.