Fwd: Re: Habitat > amusement park > high rise housing

Chris J. Durden drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Jun 14 12:23:06 EDT 2001

>Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:22:14 -0500
>To: gochfeld at EOHSI.RUTGERS.EDU
>From: "Chris J. Durden" <drdn at mail.utexas.edu>
>Subject: Re: Habitat > amusement park > high rise housing
>Michael et al.
>    Some museum specimens last longer than others. I met a conservator who 
> was working on saving botanical specimens that had been placed in 
> jeopardy in Zagreb during the early phases of the current Balkan 
> conflicts. The specimens were collected during the later phase of the 
> Roman Empire! I think our surviving butterfly specimens only go back to 
> the Bath White, *Pontia daplidice* collected in 1702 which was 
> successivly curated by Petiver, Latham, Dale, and the Hope department of 
> Entomology at Oxford. This is illustrated (Plate 1, figure 4) by E. B. 
> Ford, 1945 in his book "Butterflies" in the Collins' New Naturalist Series.
>    I hope someone on this list will tell me there is an older specimen 
> somewhere else. There are fine pictures of dead butterflies in "The 
> Master of Mary of Burgundy. A Book of Hours for Engelbert of Nassau" 1477 
> - 1490, now in the Bodleian Library (MS Douce 219-220) and partially 
> reproduced and available at The Cloisters Museum in New York City (ISBN 
> 0-8076-0578-6.  I would post some of the pictures, but the reproduction 
> was copyright ("no part") by the publisher in 1970. Obviously there were 
> butterfly specimens in curiosity cabinets of the Middle Ages if not before.
>    Entropy often comes in the form of narrowly educated administrators. I 
> have often said that the Museum Director's job is to protect the museum 
> from the trustees; the curator's job is to protect the collections from 
> the director; and the collection manager's job is to protect the 
> specimens from the curator. Meanwhile museums run down, collections are 
> stored in basements under plumbing, and the dermestids munch on while 
> funding is denied to hire a new collections manager or curator.
>.................Chris Durden
>At 10:18 AM 6/14/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>>Chris et al.
>>Everything has a cycle.  New Yorkers lament the fact that Palisades
>>Amusement Park (long an NYC landmark but actually in NJ like the Statue
>>of Liberty), has been replaced by a housing development.
>>Seriously, the viability of museum collections is a troublesome issue.
>>New administrators (like the educator who took over the AMNH while I was
>>there) or the Small banker who has taken over the Smithsonian, have
>>agendas which do not emphasize, and often conflict with scientific
>>research, systematics, biodiversity, etc.
>>M. Gochfeld


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