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Subject: AAM Position statement on university natural history museums and collections

AAM Position statement on university natural history museums and collections

From: Walter Henry <consdist-request>
Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2003
    The American Association of Museums (AAM) expresses its deep
    concern that a significant number of America's natural history
    museums and collections affiliated with universities are
    currently threatened with severe financial cutbacks, dispersal
    of collections, and outright closure. At risk are collections of
    irreplaceable objects, such as geological, paleontological,
    zoological and botanical specimens, anthropological and
    historical artifacts, and archives. These collections are held
    in trust for the public; they are the priceless heritage of this
    and future generations; and they constitute critically important
    resources for new knowledge. University museums provide unique
    contributions to the public good through education and research.
    Their collections are a shared legacy, serving as a constantly
    growing database to document the diversity and history of life
    on earth, to develop strategies for the management of natural
    resources, and to find solutions to some of the world's most
    pressing problems, from biodiversity conservation to the
    discovery of new medicines. In addition, exhibits and programs
    in university museums help to advance broader understanding of
    the scholarly and scientific enterprise. AAM urges university
    administrators, trustees, state legislators, and alumni to do
    everything in their power to preserve, protect and support their
    university museums and collections of natural and cultural
    history. Temporary financial difficulties must not be allowed to
    interfere with the overriding responsibility of the governing
    authority to be effective stewards of these collections and to
    safeguard the public interest by assuring continued access to
    them. AAM strongly urges the leadership of universities, and
    their museums to work together to develop creative financial and
    organizational strategies that will secure their museums and
    collections for future generations. AAM also strongly urges
    universities, museums, governmental agencies, foundations, and
    other stakeholders to begin a national dialogue with the aim of
    providing long-term stability for America's university museums
    of natural history and their irreplaceable collections. A major
    aim is to strengthen connections to constituencies that can
    speak in support of these important museums.

    1575 Eye Street NW, Suite 400
    Washington DC 20005
    Fax: 202-289-6578

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:43
               Distributed: Wednesday, November 26, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-43-002
Received on Tuesday, 25 November, 2003

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Timestamp: Thursday, 26-Jan-2012 15:56:53 PST
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