Private collections

Sean Barry sjbarry at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Sep 26 07:33:22 CDT 2002

On Wed, 25 Sep 2002, Dr. James Adams wrote:

> Sean Barry wrote:
> >I agree, although I think that private collections should have a
> >pre-conceived purpose, and one that is not already well-met by existing
> >institutional collections or facilities.
> I can't even agree with this.  Many, *many* people don't have easy access
> to existing institutional collections, certainly not necessarily one with
> representation of taxa they are interested in.
>          Anyone else notice that Anita, Luis, and Sean are *at* large
> institutional collections?  Little wonder these people would be the ones

Er, not me.  I'm not associated with any institutional collection, large
or small.  Further, UC Davis does have a noteworthy entomology museum, a
herbarium, and a vertebrate teaching collection (in the Wildlife and
Fisheries and ConsBio department), but we are not on the radar of "large
institutional collections" by any measure (perhaps you are confusing us
with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley?).  I think you
misinterpreted what I wrote--I'm in favor of private collections, as long
as they are set up properly, individually serve a purpose, and are
accessible.  That doesn't exclude any of the reasons you expressed above
to set up private collections.  My concerns are that too many small but
significant private assemblages have in fact been discarded in the trash
when their stewards pass on, but so too have too many small institutional
collections been neglected "to death" when _their_ stewards lose interest,
space, or employment (been there, done that, at one of those "small"
(<10,000 specimens) but scientifically significant collections at a
"large" institution).  Whether the private collection is the best place
for type material is debatable, but I don't rule that out either.  In my
opinion, generalities on this topic are inappropriate.

Sean Barry
Sean J. Barry
The Rowe Program in Molecular Genetics (mail address)
  and The Section of Evolution and Ecology
University of California
Davis, California  95616
(530) 752 9160
FAX (530) 754 6015
sjbarry at

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