Ben Norton

Head, Technology and Collections Manager, Meteorites

11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


  • M.S. in Planetary Science, University of Tennessee, 2008
  • B.S. in Geosciences, University of Arizona, 2005

Professional Interests and Background

Ben serves a broad array of needs that support both day-to-day operations and the long-term strategic plans for the museum, including the management of many technical assets. The most prominent are the Online Collections, the web mapping application, Species Mapper, and the Museum website, all for which he built, co-designed, and currently administers.

In 2013, Ben began working at the Museum of Natural Sciences as Collections Data Curator and GIS Manager. In this role, he developed and established the collections data workflow that begins with digitization of primary sources and ends with the data back end for the collections website and the eight published Darwin Core compliant data sets. Currently, he is the senior technical project manager and lead developer for strategic technological initiatives, including all web-related museum resources. Ben is also the Collections Manager of Meteorites supporting the Curator of Meteorites, Rachel Smith, with the management of both the physical and digital collections.

In 2005, Ben earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences from the University of Arizona, with an emphasis in Mineralogy and Planetary Sciences. In graduate school at the University of Tennessee, he studied imaging analysis and Carbonaceous Chondrites, the most primitive class of meteorites that date back to the dawn of our solar system. After earning his Master of Science degree, he began working at the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center and ORNL DAAC at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he developed web applications and curated meteorological and ecological data for the AmeriFlux and Fluxnet projects. After ORNL, Ben spent a couple years honing a diverse set of technical skills in the private sector before arriving at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in 2013.

His professional interests include the advancement of scientific research through the use technology, exploring the role of technology in museums, and, most importantly, turning ideas into realities through technology. In practice, he spends a great deal of his time developing new ways to increase efficiency, productivity, and ultimately open up new educational opportunities and scientific discoveries through the use of technology.

Personal website with profiles of select projects

Select Projects

Meteorite Collection


North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences websites and web applications are built using an array of client-side, server-side, and database technologies including C# ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, PHP, Vue.js, jQuery, Laravel, Bootstrap, D3.js, Leaflet, Twig, WordPress, CSS3, HTML5, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MSSQL on both Linux and Windows servers.

Note on Institution Names and Acronyms
The Museum goes by two acronyms, NCSM and NCMNS. The name of the museum changed in the early 2000s from the North Carolina State Museum to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. As a result, the museum acronym also changed from NCSM to NCMNS. To preserve continuity with decades of published work, the shorter acronym, NCSM, is used mainly by Research & Collections. Those not subject to the conformity of history, use NCMNS.