Berkeley Natural History Museums host the annual meeting of the Natural Science Collections Alliance


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On June 5th and 6th, more than 120 members of the natural history collections community gathered together at the Radisson Hotel Berkeley Marina to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing natural history museums, world-wide. The Keynote Address was given by Sir Neil Chalmers, Director of The Natural History Museum in London, and focused on the innovative attempts to integrate collections, research, and communications now underway at the Darwin Centre. Following the Keynote, Karl Hutterer (Executive Director, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) and John Heyning (Deputy Director, Research & Collections, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County) chaired a panel discussion on Creative Leadership in Tough Economic Times. This was followed by an open discussion with the audience and further perspectives by Chalmers, who advised:
Winning friends is essential—advocacy must be a high priority. We must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What difference do natural history museums make to the economy and education of society?
  • What is the economic impact of museums?
  • What is the educational impact—at every educational level?
  • What is the societal impact?

Bob Full
Professor Bob Full, Integrative Biology
Following afternoon sessions on new NSCA initiatives and a poster session, the attendees joined us for a more festive event held in the Valley Life Sciences Building. The evening reception included displays from each of the museums, arranged throughout the courtyard, as well as tours of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, the UC Museum of Paleontology, and the University and Jepson Herbaria. The evening ended with a highly informative and entertaining talk by Bob Full (Professor of Integrative Biology): Bipedal Bugs, Galloping Ghosts, and Gripping Geckos: Natural History Leading to Robots, Adhesives and Artificial Muscles.
Day two provided the opportunity for further discussions on issues of importance to the collections community, including providing data for new research initiatives, the costs and benefits of creative programming, supporting and promoting biodiversity conservation, and the challenges and opportunities of digital collections. More information and photos will soon be available on the NSCA website. Professor Bob Full, Integrative Biology

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August, 2003