Inside the _____

Inside the History of Rudolph F. Pascucci

Rudolph Pascucci holding an artifact outside of his storage unit
Written by Heather Lopez

This is a series of stories we are sharing to show what’s inside CubeSmart. You not only get a peek inside our customer’s storage unit, but also a peek inside what is important to them. Thank you to Rudolph, a customer of our CubeSmart store in Lake Worth, for sharing his story with us.

Rudolph F. Pascucci, age 69, is the Executive Director of the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History and looks every bit the part of a paleontologist. He arrives at the CubeSmart located at 1900 6th Ave S, Lake Worth, FL 33461 wearing a weathered brown hat and boots, and holding a ball of a femur from a Columbian Mammoth. He says it probably came from the Lake Worth or Wellington area and was donated to the museum.

Born in NY, Rudolph remembers visiting the Museum of Natural History at the age of seven with his father and having a great interest in the dinosaurs. Little did he know then that 40 years later, he would end up digging on the very same ranch that the museum's T-Rex was discovered.

Though he had an interest in paleontology, he did not pursue the field until he was older. While in NY, he attended Hofstra University to obtain a BA in Speech Arts. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and served for 25 years, including several years with special forces during Vietnam and several years as an ROTC instructor at Hofstra, before retiring in 1993 as a Captain. Rudolph says he's considered a disabled veteran. He's been married twice and has two adult children in their 30's. His son went to Tufts and his daughter went to Wellesley.

After his retirement, he came to Florida in 1994 and pursued a BA in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He says he's just a few credits short of an MS in Paleontology and Geoscience, as well.

Rudolph volunteered with the Graves Museum until 2004, when it closed. Unlike some professors that get to keep their findings when they leave, he lost a ton of his work, including major findings from an excavation in the 1990s. Now he makes sure to keep records of ownership on what he finds. He's been involved in excavations in Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Florida, Ecuador, Haiti, and North Dakota.

Most people know him as Rudy, but he gave his full name because he's also the field assistant to Robert DePalma, a young paleontologist who discovered evidence of the day the dinosaurs died. It's a major discovery that has appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic Magazine and other reputable newspapers.

Another organization had been excavating the area, located in North Dakota, for fish fossils. They notified the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History, that they may want to dig deeper there. What started as a week-long exploratory dig, turned into a summer-long discovery that seems to show evidence of the Earth being hit with an asteroid and causing the death of most life within a matter of hours. The area measured approximately 150 yards x 50 yards x 20 feet thick. Within this, they located glass beads that matched up to beads found in the ground in Mexico.

The discovery was made in North Dakota about six years ago (2013), but it took this long for it to be approved for publication. On April 1, 2019, the paper was published in a scientific journal after a blind peer review. Rudolph says there are at least three more papers to come. In 2009, they had made a discovery supporting that the T-Rex was a predator, but didn't publish until 2013. It takes time to go through reviews, and even then, there are a lot of skeptics in this field.

Rudolph says he met Robert when he was just a sophomore in high school. Robert became interested in dinosaurs at the age of three and is now 37. He's the one behind the museum, though currently serves as a Curator of Paleontology.

"There's no museum like us in South Florida," as far as he knows. They have a research collection and active science staff. They do the work of large organizations, but without the funding. They've been rebuilding the collection, offering traveling exhibits to the public, conducting programs for kids.

In the CubeSmart units, they store replicas and non-scientific material. In 2012, they did a dinosaur exhibit with the South Florida Science Center, so some of the exhibits are in the unit, including a 40 x 8 ft mural, signage and a wooden barrier system. Sometimes they loan out their materials to other locations, museums, malls, etc. The unit has 14 foot high ceilings, which they need for the larger items. He personally stores some things in the unit and says they "always have great customer service here. I'm thrilled to see them."

Two years ago they received temporary exhibit space at the Wellington Green Mall, which turned into an 18-month lease that ends early 2020. It was part of the mall's Live 360 program. He says, "Malls are changing, evolving and becoming more community-focused." They are hoping to raise some money and garner grants to be able to move to the second floor, which offers more exhibition space. Right not they have about 900 boxes of materials they keep in storage.

We’d love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.

About the author

Heather Lopez

Heather Lopez, aka The Social Commerce Mom, is a 30-something married mom of two, a blogger and a marketing professional. She was born and raised in NY, attending both SUNY Stony Brook and CUNY John Jay. She now calls Orlando her home. In addition to her main blog, she also runs Bloggin' Mamas, I Love Family Travel, Happy and Healthy Mom, and over 30 niche Facebook groups throughout the US, fulfilling her passion to connect people.

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