The Importance of Curation: a Case-Study of the Subfossil Lemur Collection in the Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University
In times when many natural history museums experience financial cuts, it is important to show why museums matter, what they can offer, and what they mean for both the public and the scientific society. The collections are the heart of the museum and they need to be well-managed in order to attract visitors (both researchers and public). Curation of collections is an essential part of the museum operation but it may be affected by understaffing and/or lack of physical space. If collections in need of curation (especially old collections) are left unattended, they may lose their scientific value.
This project was done in order to show the importance of curation and its possibility to increase the value of a collection. The aim of this project was to show that a thoroughly explored and well curated collection becomes more accessible and interesting for internal and external sources and thereby the scientific and public value increases. This was conducted as a case-study of the collection of subfossil lemurs at the Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University. The collection was catalogued, its historical background was studied, and the old collection description was reviewed. The collection catalogue produced (Appendix D) has increased the availability and scientific value as it is now easier to get an overview of the collection, the catalogue include updated anatomical and taxonomical specimen descriptions, it is possible to administer loans on collection specimens, and the catalogue data can be published in accessible databases. The historical background (Appendices A and B) has shown that the collection has connections to other Swedish museum collections in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Lund. It is possible to use the information in the historical background in an eventual exhibition. This has increased the public value. However, it is possible to further increase both the availability and the value of the collection and some suggestions are given.
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