Monday, July 20, 2009

Shut up and leave us alone!


By now you may have heard that the administration at the University of Wyoming has decided to reopen the Geological Museum, part time, using private funds. The museum will reopen on August 24 for public visitation under the supervision of the security guard. That’s right - a security guard.

Now, I don't know about you, but I do not go to a bank and expect the security guard to complete my transaction. I do not go to the mall and expect the security guard to check me out when I purchase something. I do not go to a baseball game and expect the security guard to play all the positions in the game.

It is not their job to do so.

So how exactly is a security guard going to answer questions asked by museum visitors? How will they ring up and purchases, should someone decided they would like a Big Al t-shirt? How will they clean and maintain the exhibits? How will they train volunteers? How will they make sure the information present in exhibits is up to date? You get the idea................

So this is the way I see this whole thing playing out in UW President Tom Buchanan's mind (and remember, this is all just in my imagination - I have NO idea what is going though this mans head): he is inundated with letters, emails, calls, and investigations into the closing of the museum. People start to bring up his inflated salary. Question his reasoning behind the decisions. Question his devotion to science education. He is getting alot of bad press and the Board of Trusties (who are also feeling the pressure) tells him to "fix" the situation. His solution - reopen the museum, with private money, but only on a shoe string budget, and without the staff the museum deserves. Why? Because, frankly, he just does not care (once again, just my opinion and view - he is welcome to correct me). He does not understand why the museum is important to anyone other than little kids. He does not understand that science is important. He does not understand how a museum operates and what sort of staff it needs to do so. So he decided to do all of this and (at least this is how I see it) is telling us all to "Shut up and leave us alone already!"

The flaw in all of this is that they are still missing the point. I am sitting here at my computer and frankly saying "WTF - do they not get it!" It is not just about having the museum open. It is about caring of the collections! It is about doing good science and fulfilling the universities core missions of teaching, research, and outreach (all things the museum has done for years under the guidance of their curator!). I am sure the president of the university does not appreciate my concern and probably is thinking that nothing he does will make any of us happy. But I really do not feel like they have any interest in ever letting the museum have a curator again. They do not seem to understand the importance of having an individual in this position. They so not understand what they do and why it is important. It is simply infuriating! Basically it makes as much sense as this does:

I guess we just have to keep on them [UW Administration] and let them know why it IS important to have a curator!


New links:
University of Wyoming Press Release
Laramie Boomerang
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Billings Gazette (thanks for the heads up MDR)

Blog links:

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, "Jesus and Dinosaurs" from the internet, no idea who created it (not me!). Just google "Jesus Dinosaur." Paul Blart: Mall Cop is © Columbia Pictures and I urge them to consider making the sequel about a museum security guard - oh, wait, is that idea already taken (Night at the something-er-other) because I think the scenario taking place at the University of Wyoming will be MUCH MORE funny (and disastrous!)!


Tor Bertin said...

Bets that he thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and that fossils are just there to 'test our faith'?

I'm told that there was a creationist dinosaur museum that opened up in Glendive recently--I'm debating going, if not just because that (psychotic display information aside) they have some killer casts there (like a complete Acrocanthosaurus mount).

Obviously I'd stop by the renovated Makoshika museum as well!

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Who knows! I do not go to creationist "museums" because I do not want to give them my money or support their lies/cause. I saw pictures from the Kentucky creationist museum, and while they have nice looking exhibits, thier information is WACKO!! I just wish we had donors with that deep of pockets!

I suggest if you want to see an Acrocanthosaurus save your money and go to SC or TX.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you ReBecca! For some reason Creationists are treating us Scientists like Crap as well as our institutions. We don't do that to their Churches and, fracnkly, they insult the Christians in my family (though some ARE Creationists, they are Scientists and Rational Thinkers.)!! This is my worst nightmare when I don't have a future job because it doesn't fit the Bible!! That is garbage and ticks me off!!! I don't know about you but, I'm writing to the President about this. If anyone can do this, it's the Federal gov't!! If THE "Big Al's" there, I feel sorry for his species and his fossilized body. RIP Big Al!!

Anonymous said...

Is there anything I can do?

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

RL - just keep writing letters to the board and university president. That is really all we can do that I can think of right now. that and keep getting the word out!

Tor Bertin said...

Hey, sorry about the language in that last post... thinking back on it, probably wasn't the best of ideas. ;-)

Also, non-related to the Museum Saga, but I finally have a couple posts up on my previously largely ignored blog.

Doug said...

Yes, that is kind of the impression created. He reopened it on the barest of minimum requirements to do so. It seems more a reaction to something than realizing a mistake. So yes, it does kind of look like he did it because of all the bad press. But that's just me. Maybe if i get a job i can scrape some $$$ together to donate to the foundation, maybe it could be put towards getting a curator.

I looked up that "museum" in Glendive, and even for Acrocanthosaurus, don't go. The people running that "museum" appear to have some rather malicious intent: "No matter whether it’s the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God’s creation are prostituted for evolutionism." What i find scarier is that they actually go out and dig up dinosaur fossils for their "museum". Like paleontologists didn't have enough competition from commercial collectors and poachers, now they have to compete with creationists too? And that is why keeping places like the WU museum open is important. So that we can better educate people on the nature and wonders of science.

Tor Bertin said...

"No matter whether it’s the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God’s creation are prostituted for evolutionism."

That's insane... doubly unfortunate when you consider the number of Christians who have absolutely no problem with evolution (seriously, if the *Vatican* can admit it, these people should).

Absolutely no way I'll be going there. Sad stuff.