[Taxacom] Curators and collections

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Wed May 11 10:01:12 CDT 2016


This is to comment further to Frank's clarification under a separate
heading so as not to confuse different issues.

Fransk,

Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate that it was not intentional, but
not everyone is aware of everything going on so it is important to give
sufficient reference to any remark (and not to criticise you in this as I
could equally fail to do that with any of my postings).

With respect to the example given, it is still not clear how the proposed
actions would, in your view, lead to "severe and sustainable damage to
collections". The Buffalo Museum of Science, for example, eliminated all
research curators while maintaining a collections manager and 'weeding'
through material that was no longer needed without resulting in "severe and
sustainable damage" to the collections themselves, - however distasteful it
may be to see collections based science eliminated from a science museum.
Back in the 1950's the Boston Museum did something similar, with most of
the collections going to other institutions.

In the case of the Bishop Museum I am personally glad that it did not
happen, although I am ignorant of what I presume to be economic pressures
that had lead to that intention (certainly economics was and is behind such
reductions of research staff at other museums).

As a museum career path it seems overall safer to be a collection manager
than a research curator as museums often have more of a mandate to maintain
collections than maintain science.

John Grehan


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