Courtesy Mark RyanNews has come out that the University of Wyoming will close its Geological Museum in Laramie, Wyoming as part of cost-cutting measures to offset an $18 million budget deficit.
This is terrible news, and hopefully not a trend for small-scale museums. The UW Geological Museum is not only a wonderful museum and repository of many important fossils, but its link to the early days of American paleontology gives it an historical significance not found at other museums.
Courtesy Mark RyanOne of the museum’s early curators was none other than William Harlow Reed who, as a worker for the Union Pacific Railroad, discovered nearby Como Bluff, one of the richest dinosaur graveyards in the world. The quarries at Como produced a number of well-known Late Jurassic dinosaurs during the late 19th century, and served and a battleground for the Bone Wars waged between pioneer paleontologists Othniel C. Marsh (for whom Reed worked) and Edward Drinker Cope. Reed later served as curator of the museum for a dozen years until his death in 1915.
The closing doesn’t make sense especially since UW president Tom Buchanan said the decisions were made “trying to minimize the impact on teaching, research and service at the university,”
Courtesy Mark RyanI’ve personally visited the museum on several occasions and have enjoyed it immensely each time. Museum director and paleontologist Brent Breithaupt will be one of two staff members whose jobs will be terminated by the closing.
Interested parties in the earth science community have set up an online petition to get the decision reversed. Hopefully, they’ll be successful.
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