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.
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