Very timely piece about the issues facing natural history curators in 2013.
Yesterday evening I had a very interesting chat with The Horniman Museum’s Paolo Viscardi about collections under threat of damage or destruction. I expected the primary contributor to be human civil unrest but, as it turns out, our Natural History collections have far more to fear from a budget cut than from an angry mob with pitchforks. Paolo said that I would be surprised how often people end up rummaging through skips to retrieve type specimens in the aftermath of a closure. I was horrified that it has happened even once!
There are two things a collection needs to be safe: space and a person to care for it. If the owner of the property they are housed in decides to evict the collection, the collection faces homelessness. Without temperature-regulated storage, there is a high risk of a pest infestation and there are few things as edible as a Natural…
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