Uruguayan National Museum in turmoil

Jose H. Leal jleal at GATE.NET
Tue May 2 15:18:38 CDT 2000

>Subject:    National Museum of Natural History (MONTEVIDEO)
>Author: Fabrizio Scarabino <fscara at inape.gub.uy>
>Date:       05/02/2000 11:51 AM
>Dear all,
>As it  happened to other museums of the world, the National Museum of
>Natural History of Montevideo today confronts a crisis that threatens
>its disappearance.
>For more than 5 years the Ministry of Education and Culture has known that
>the Museum must evict the building it had been using during the last
>100 years, and it has not foreseen to fit out a new site for the Museum.
Now it
>argues the lack of funds to send "temporarily" the material that the Museum
>stores to a series of unsuitable locales.
>All the collections and the exposition of Anthropology have been sent to
>another two museums, the part of the exposition of fauna was baled in a
>precarious way and is deteriorating in a deposit with humidity and
>leaks, the library will be carried to another deposit and the destination of
>the scientific collections is uncertain, although it is likely that they
>will be stockpiled with what once was the exposition of fauna.
>Up to now there has not been concrete proposals of the Ministry for
>constructing, buying or conditioning in the close future a new site for the
>Museum so that it can operate correctly, achieving the educational and
>research tasks this type of institution should fulfill in the present time.
>We run the risk that this wrong "temporal"solution becomes the definitive
>one because of the lack of understanding by the Ministry of the importance
>that the museums of Natural History play at the present time (especially
>with the potentialities they have to face the current environmental crisis),
>and that at this time of crisis the Museum ends up by disappearing divided
>in parts that fade in old deposits in ruin.
>After patient and vain intents of reasoning and negotiating with the
>responsible authorities, we have arrived to a point of no return that
>requires taking desperate measurements. In fact the problems have become
>dramatically worse last week .
>In order to accompany our efforts we are requesting you to send fax
>to Mr. Minister of Education and Culture from Uruguay, Antonio
>Mercader, expressing that you have been informed that the Uruguayan Museum
>is beeing disarticulated, that this is a shame, that the scientific and
>educational values of an institution like this are incalculable and that it
>deserves efforts by the Uruguayan government for its conservation.
>FAX: (5982) is Uruguay+Montevideo + 9161048.
>Fax numbers of some Uruguayan Embassies are:
>Berlin (004930) 2292839
>Bogota D. E. (571) 2483734
>Brasilia (5561) 3226534
>Bruxelles (322) 6482909
>Buenos Aires (005411) 48073050
>Canberra (6126) 2739099
>Chicago (312) 6423470
>Stockholm (468) 6653166
>London (0044207) 5819585
>Los Angeles (310) 3945140
>Madrid (003491)
>Miami (1305) 4437802
>Moscow (7095) 9382045
>New York (1718/212/7531603)
>Paris (33) 0145012517
>Pretoria (9512) 3626523
>Roma (3906) 4823695
>Santiago (562) 2047772
>Washington D. C. (202) 331-8142
>Wellington (644) 476 2268
>Letters to the President of the Republica Oriental del Uruguay, Dr. Jorge L.
>Batlle, refering the situation of the Museum can be sent to the ennumerated
>fax numbers.
>We especially request that you also forward this letter to other e-mail
>lists, colleagues and institutions of your and foreign countries. This is
>the best way to inform about the situation here in Uruguay, and to get the
>support from the international scientific community for our efforts to avoid
>the disappearance of the National Museum of Natural History of Montevideo.
>Thanks for your support.
>Fabrizio Scarabino &
>Alvaro Soutullo

José H. Leal, Ph.D.
Director, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
Editor-in-chief, THE NAUTILUS
jleal at gate.net
3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, FL 33957 USA
(941) 395-2233; fax (941) 395-6706

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