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Rutgers geology museum may close

Posted by Fred E. Davis  
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Fred E. Davis February 02, 2013 01:14PM
"Rutgers Geology Museum May Close After 141 Years" http://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/rutgers-geology-museum-may-close-after-141-years

A sad but familiar story. Its fate is not yet certain, but there are rumors of turning the building into an auditorium.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 07:33PM by Fred E. Davis.
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Keith A. Peregrine February 02, 2013 03:31PM
That's what they get for joining the Big Ten...
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David Von Bargen February 02, 2013 05:38PM
Actually the majority of schools in the Big Ten have museums. The Illinois schools would have to compete with the Field Museum and there is a Natural History Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana
University of Wisconsin, University of Nebraska, University of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, University of Iowa all have natural history/geological museums

http://www.inlandlapidary.com/user_area/museums.asp
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Chris Stefano February 02, 2013 05:58PM
Yes, but the University of Michigan museum does not have much of a mineral display
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Keith A. Peregrine February 02, 2013 06:47PM
Sorry, just making a joke, not meaning the bad news of the school museum. Maryland and Rutgers will be joining the Big Ten system in a couple of years. Being from the Big Ten was simply to pull a leg as a weak joke.

David, thanks for the info on the Natural History Museum in Indianapolis. Despite being a native Hoosier, I was never aware of it. Will add it to my list of things to do in 2013.
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Bob Harman February 02, 2013 07:09PM
It is the INDIANA STATE MUSEUM in Indianapolis. They have everything Indiana, but only a section is devoted to natural things of Indiana. This includes wildlife and fossils and minerals etc. The newest exhibit is the very recently finished skeleton restoration of an adult Mastodont found in a NE Indiana bog about 15 years ago and just restored within the past few weeks.The Indiana minerals exhibit is less than stellar as even acknowledged by their curator, but big changes may be coming. Major upgrades and renovations are on the horizon and Indiana minerals area including geodes will be much better represented as part of these renovations........if you get my drift. Check it all out after about 2015. I should also mention that there is a rock and mineral show in the museum atrium area every year, about the third weekend in October; "GEOFEST". CHEERS........BOB



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 07:26PM by BOB HARMAN.
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Mark Heintzelman February 02, 2013 08:34PM
Retrofitting this building as an auditorium space? Add the cost of "possibly re-housing" the collection elsewhere as suggested, and this "concept" does seem overly costly and deeply flawed.

If you ask me, it all sounds like a red herring to avoid the bad press that the collection is no longer valued by the Universities administration and is to be sold off. If they had any intention of retaining the collection, it would cost the University a great deal less to leave everything "as is", and retrofit/expand any number of other facilities on campus. The only current costs are the maintenance of the building (this cost will still exist no matter what "plan" is executed), and the single staff person to oversee it (As I understand it, this is all the support the University had in place for the museum).

It's been a while, but I guess I should make another quick trip up there . . . this time to say "goodbye".


MRH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 08:39PM by Mark Heintzelman.
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Eric D. Fritzsch February 18, 2013 01:13PM
Please keeping posting to this discussion to keep it up and front in the Mindat community. Consider signing the on-line petition http://www.change.org/petitions/robert-barchi-president-of-rutgers-university-vp-richard-edwards-do-not-close-the-rutgers-geology-museum#share. If you live in the Rutgers area go visit the museum and express your support. With everyone talking about needed a more science educated society it is sad that we want to close such institutions. Often these museums are the only direct contact the local community has with these universities.
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Donald Peck February 18, 2013 04:10PM
Recent News about the Rutgers Geology Museum:
The following message is from Robert L. Barchi, M.D., Ph.D., President of Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey concerning recent inquiries related to the status of the Rutgers Geology Museum:
Thanks for your message concerning the Rutgers Geology Museum. Please be assured that the museum is NOT
closing.
Rutgers is investigating modifications to Geology Hall to make it ADA compliant and to introduce seating for the
students we bring to the museum, while preserving this historic room. We plan to expand our outreach in the life
and natural sciences. Our bus will continue to operate, and we plan to keep all of the museum’s bones and fossils
on site and in sight (the mastodon will be encased in glass at the back). We want to keep this room as a museum
auditorium.
Rutgers cannot continue to operate a museum to which we bring young people that has no access for individuals
with physical disabilities. In addition, we need a space for instruction for the outreach we do. We envision this
space as being a beautiful hybrid space outfitted with the best technologies for teaching. It will not have university
classes in it, but instead will be for outreach -- a place where professors will come and give talks to grade school
and high school students.
The university is sensitive to your concerns. As you may know, the museum is not self-sustaining. We hope that by
making it ADA compliant, while preserving its historic nature and modernizing it as a showcase for student
outreach, we can win some of the many grants to which we are excluded from applying because of the standards of
the present space.
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Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. February 18, 2013 04:39PM
The explanation presented by the University President is refreshing and sounds quite grounded in reason. The ADA status of facilities does indeed affect their eligibility for some grants. Let's hope this is how the scenario will play out. I would hate to lose this valuable scientific learning facility, particularly since the tiny state of New Jersey contains more world famous mineral and fossil localities than many states, or even some countries, which are much larger and much less populated. There is so much history connected with New Jersey's mineral and fossil history (First copper mine with steam engine in America, first dinosaur fossil, world's richest zinc mines, largest iron producer in USA berfore discovery of the Mesabi Range, mining activities of Thomas Edison (Limecrest, Edison-Bodnar quarries, Menlo Park Cu mine, Sussex Co. iron mine where Edison invented the concentration and caking of magnetite ore, etc.). Too much to lose!!
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Fred E. Davis February 18, 2013 05:42PM
What I find interesting in Dr. Barchi's statement is the total absence of the word "mineral"; he only references plans for "bones and fossils." So what does the museum intend to do with the mineral collection? A pessimist might immediately think those plans might include 'revenue enhancement to fund the building modifications.' I will remain skeptically optimistic and hope we might learn more.
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Matt Neuzil February 18, 2013 10:42PM
All donations of mineral specimens can be sent to my address. I'll send a private message for where to send :-D

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