[Taxacom] More decline of the Australian Museum update

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Sat Nov 14 13:56:48 CST 2015

I agree with Buz Wilson about his concerns, but I suspect that nothing can
be done to reverse the decisions. Over the decades I have noticed that
other than one or two miraculous exceptions, administrators never reverse
their decisions. In some ways I can see that they have no other choice than
to stick with their decision. To do so in reaction to unfavorable responses
(no matter how justified) would imply incompetence or insincerity on their
part. So once a decision has been made it is usually already too late.

With respect to the observation that "Non-scientist directors are told by
conservative governments to cut costs: because the executives don't
understand the value of scientific research, the science staff and
facilities go first" I wonder if it is more about those sections of a
museum being seen to be expendable - that a museum can continue to function
as a public entity, serving up a platter of exhibits and public programs
without any science research component (for the public at large this is
usually what they value along with education oriented foundations). I have
seen it done and such entities have continued to be financially viable
- which is often the first priority of museum management (here referring to
the board of managers or trusties that have the ultimate responsibility).
Non-scientist directors may well understand the value of scientific
research, but unless that research or the research positions generate some
kind of benefit in terms of museum financial viability, it may be seen as a
liability when funding resources are insufficient, or some other aspect of
museum function is considered a priority for whatever reason.

In the case of the Australian Museum it was not clearly evident to me (from
the link provided) as to whether funding had been reduced by government or
whether costs had risen above income, or some other part of the museum
income had deteriorated.

John Grehan

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 10:42 AM, Buz Wilson <buzwilson at gmail.com> wrote:

> Writing letters to the current director Kim McKay** might help. I'm told
> by a colleague at the Australian Museum that some staff have not signed
> their redundancy letters yet, so changing McKay's mind about the job and
> facilities cuts might still be possible.
> ** Write to
> Ms. Kim McKay, Chief Executive
> Australian Museum
> 6 College Street
> Sydney, NSW 2010
> Australia
> or email kim.mckay at austmus.gov.au
> --
> George D.F. (Buz) Wilson, Ph.D.
> Saugatuck Natural History Laboratory, LLC
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