Field Museum and power outage: what happened next?

Sally Shelton Shelton.Sally at NMNH.SI.EDU
Thu Sep 9 15:36:58 CDT 1999

Many of us recently noted with sympathy and distress the
wire-service news stories that described the power outage at
the Field Museum and the risks thus posed to 30,000 frozen
tissue specimens. Those of us facing similar (or, frankly,
identical) hazards daily are intensely curious about The
Rest of the Story. Is there anyone here associated with the
Field who can give an account of the extent of the actual
damage, the nature of the disaster response, and the outcome
of it all? And can we find out what kinds of freezers and
alarms were (or weren't) in use? Were the risks brought to
the attention of the administration in advance, and, if so,
what was the response?

We have enormous concerns here along these lines, and I am
hearing from colleagues who are having headaches in trying
to get even basic support for the preservation and care of
these holdings, so any and all information from someone
who's survived the experience would be most welcome.

Sally Shelton
Collections Officer
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

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