US museum dinosaurs, victims of gas capitalism?


This is a video about dinosaurs in the USA.

From Associated Press:

Paleontologists don’t dig closing Wyo. dino museum

By Mead Gruver

Associated Press Writer / June 12, 2009

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Paleontologists are in an uproar over a decision by the University of Wyoming to save money by closing its Geological Museum, home to dinosaur specimens including a rare skeleton display.

Closing the museum — and laying off its director and a part-time employee — is expected to save about $80,000 a year. It’s part of $18 million in cuts the university in Laramie announced last week amid predictions of declining state revenue.

But paleontoligsts, including ReBecca Hunt-Foster of Grand Junction, Colo., say closing the museum would be a mistake. “I really don’t think they’ve thought this through,” she said. “They’ve got world-class specimens.”

Hunt-Foster … writes a paleontology blog and calls herself “Dinochick” online. She has been circulating an online petition that as of Friday had more than 800 signatures.

She said schoolchildren from all over Wyoming and Colorado visit the museum, which includes an apatosaurus skeleton that is one of only about a half-dozen such displays in the country.

“You can go to a lot of little museums and see the same thing over and over and over again. But at the museum in Laramie, they really do a good job of interpreting their local paleontology and geology,” she said.

Blaire Van Valkenburgh, president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, said other natural history museums have had to reduce staffing and hours of operation due to decreased funding, but this is the first natural history museum she knows of that is closing.

“Of course we’re very horrified and these are very tragic decisions if they do follow through with it,” said Van Valkenburgh, who is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Dewey Blanton, a spokesman for the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C., said other natural history museums facing budget trouble recently include the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, which cut back its hours of operation; the San Diego Natural History Museum, which cut staff pay 10 percent; and the University of Connecticut’s Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, which has cut both its hours and staff.

“It’s certainly not confined to natural history museums but all museums — all nonprofits are suffering in the economy,” Blanton said.

The University of Wyoming’s budget cuts are in response to low natural gas prices. Taxes and royalties on natural gas production provide a significant chunk of Wyoming’s state government revenue.

Then, why not tax Big Oil and Gas a bit more, so that the museum dinosaurs will stay?

See also here.

Update, 30 June 2009: here.

Talking about Big Oil; from AMERICAblog:

Bush administration officials pushed aside the National Park Service and sought to lease public lands for drilling on the borders of Utah’s most famous redrock parks during their final days in power, a special report to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says.

LONDON. A fundraising campaign may be launched to save the Wedgwood Museum outside Stoke on Trent, if courts rule that its collection can be sold to pay the pensions liability of the Waterford Wedgwood company, which went into administration in January 2009: here.

2 thoughts on “US museum dinosaurs, victims of gas capitalism?

  1. Pingback: Tyrannosaurus fossil, science or big money? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dinosaur science, business and fraud | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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