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May 8, 2006

UCSC hosts meeting of UC museum and collection directors

By Tim Stephens

The UCSC Arboretum and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center co-hosted a meeting of the directors of museums and non-book collections from throughout the UC system on Friday, May 5. The meeting, the latest in a series of such meetings convened by the UCOP Office of Research, brought together collection managers to discuss issues relating to museums, botanical gardens, herbaria, collections of research specimens, and other non-book collections.

"UC maintains nearly 150 million objects and specimens within its formal collections alone," said Daniel Harder, director of the UCSC Arboretum. "The number and breadth of UC collections rivals that of the Smithsonian Institution."

Issues of concern include inadequate funding or support to provide proper care for collections, some of which are at risk of losing their value because of inadequate or substandard levels of curation. UCOP is gathering information about the breadth and level of curation of various collections on the UC campuses, said Harder, who has volunteered to gather this information for UCSC.

In addition to Harder, active UCSC participants in these meetings include Julie Barrett Heffington, director of the Seymour Center; Shelby Graham, director and curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery; Tonya Haff, curator of the Museum of Natural History Collections; and Jim Velzy, manager of teaching and research greenhouses for the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences. The list of collections and the number of participants at UCSC are growing as awareness of these meetings increases, Harder said.

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