The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago houses one of the world's most important and extensive collections of specimens from the natural and cultural worlds. Globally and nationally, it holds an iconic status as a leader in scientific research and education. But new, short-sighted plans to address years of borrowing for a variety of exhibits and construction threaten to destroy the museum's research standing and credibility, by laying off scientists and curatorial staff that work on and help maintain the 25 million specimens housed there. (read more here: http://trib.in/VOjuCi)
This will have massive repercussions, not only for staff and their families, but for scientific research and education as a whole. The museum collections are an internationally recognized research hub—one visited by scientists from across the globe. Moreover, the collections, and the research carried out in them, provide the basis for exhibits and programs of outreach that have inspired and enlightened generations of people, young and old, the world over.
It's time we made a statement to the powers that be at Field Museum: the heart of this great institution is in its collections and research base. These are simply too important to be undermined by knee-jerk economic measures.
FMNH is a globally-recognized leader in science research and education. But its standing and credibility as a top-flight research institute simply cannot survive radical cuts to research and curatorial staff.
Moreover, the collections, and the research carried out in them, provide the basis for the museum's exhibits and programs of outreach. A weakened research base will thus devalue the museum experience to the very people who matter most: the visiting (and paying) public.
Please understand that diminishing the research emphasis at FMNH is untenable. It is not the way to fix the museum's budgetary problems. Simply put, it is surely a nail in the coffin.