Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A message from the Friends of the S. H. Knight Geological Museum

A statement from the Friends of the Friends of the S. H. Knight Geological Museum:

Statement from the Friends
On Tuesday, June 30 at 5:00 p.m. the University of Wyoming Geological Museum closed its doors. It was a sad moment for all of us who care about the museum. The museum was closed as a result of budget cuts announced by UW President Tom Buchanan on June 4, 2009 that included the museum’s small operating budget and the salary of the long-time director Brent Breithaupt and his part-time office assistant Jennifer Durer.

The outpouring of support for the museum from both the paleontological community and the general public has been overwhelming. Through on-line and paper petitions, Facebook and MySpace groups, blogs and emails, and newspaper articles and letter writing efforts, the President and Provost of the University of Wyoming as well as the Board of Trustees and the Governor are now very aware of the importance of the museum to the people and its role in research and in the education of everyone from children to college students to seniors.

Although the UW administration has not reversed the decision to close the museum, the overwhelming support shown for the museum has allowed the Department of Geology and Geophysics to begin to work with the administration to move towards new ideas for the permanent funding of the museum. These ideas include the establishment of an endowment that would fund the museum operations, including the salary of a director/curator. Obviously setting up and funding an endowment will take time and of course money, but we are hopeful that through these efforts the museum will re-open as a stronger and even more vital part of the Wyoming community.

We want to thank everyone for their support and hard work in helping us reach this point – it could not have been done without you! We will be continuing to gather support through this citizens group, the Friends of the S. H. Knight Geological Museum. There are links to the other on-line support activities on this blog, and we will keep it updated with the latest news about our efforts.

Now is the time to keep our efforts visible – we don’t want to lose this great momentum we’ve gained. If you signed the petition, now write a letter. If you’ve written letters, write more. And keep letting people know about our situation and how important the museum has been to you!

Again, thanks so much for all your support!


MDR said...

I just read that the museum will be reopened with private funding. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be hiring anyone back to man it other than a security guard.


ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Hi MDR - we have seen that press release also but are unsure as to how to take it. It really feels like a " here, now shut up and go away" by the administration. Opening a museum and not maintaining it are not what we want. the collections need to be cared for, maintained and someone other than a security guard needs to do that. I think the administration is feeling the pressure but this is their half-assed way of trying to make people happy and make it (all the attention to their huge mistake and all the bad press) go away.