Lavinia Rickman was the Chief of Public Relations at the New York Museum of Natural History during the events of Relic. She was responsible for hiring Bill Smithback to write a book about the museum on the strength of Smithback's previous work for the Boston Aquarium.Rickman's tenure was not without controversy. Five years prior to the disastrous opening of the Superstition exhibition, a large amount of blood was discovered in the museum's basement, near a set of crates from the ill-fated Whittlesey expedition. Eager to avoid a scandal, Rickman and museum director Winston Wright ordered the mess cleaned and forbade security to report the incident to the police, claiming the blood was likely from a stray dog. The discovery, however, coincided with the sudden unexplained disappearance of Hugo Montague, a PhD candidate who had been a protégé of expedition leader John Whittlesey.
Ever conscious of the museum's image, Rickman heavily censored Smithback's drafts of the book, demanding he avoid the controversies surrounding the Superstition exhibition—including the rash of killings that preceded it. When Smithback persisted in looking into the history of the Whittlesey expedition, she issued an edict to museum staff banning them from speaking with him.
Rickman was killed alongside Wright by the creature Mbwun in the museum's Dinosaur Hall on the night of the Superstition grand opening gala.
Like many others, Lavinia Rickman's character was eliminated from the 1997 Paramount Pictures film adaption The Relic.