As a museum manager, with many of our loans out for student projects, I agree with Norman and Greg that specimens are safest when remaining in institutions. A forced home retreat is the opportunity to sit and advance on thesis writing, that far too frequently falls under procrastination and is done under pressure on the last semester, and many thesis chapters never end up published.
Curator of the William F. Barr Entomological Museum
University of Idaho, Department of Entomology, Plant pathology and Nematology (EPPN)
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2329
Moscow, ID 83844-2329
L'enfance de l'art est la jeunesse du coeur - Sol.
From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Androw, Robert <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2020 10:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Planning for next steps (or taking specimens home)
Norm makes a good point about the ‘letter of responsibility’ having questionable impact on the outcome of such an agreement. History has shown the same risks exist with the sign-off on formal loan invoices where the material never left a borrower’s main office. Once the material is in the hands of a borrower, it is expected that they will handle the material appropriately and take all effort to care for the material in a professional and diligent manner, and return the material by the loan deadline. An agreement to allow movement of material off-site would no way release the borrower from the same responsibility to care for the specimens as they would if in their lab.
Norm’s concern does motivate me to modify my earlier statement to ask any student, faced with having to work remotely, talk to your advisor and then contact me directly for permission to move Carnegie Museum material off-site, and I will be happy to evaluate each request separately.
No material should be mailed back to the museum at this time, and no loans will be processed during our shutdown, scheduled at this point to last two weeks, but considering the fluidity of the situation, that could last longer…
Robert A. Androw
Collection Manager - Section of Invertebrate Zoology
Phone (Androw desk): 412-353-4665
Phone (Section of IZ): 412-622-3259
Biodiversity Services Facility
Section of Invertebrate Zoology
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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I suggest we tap on the brakes here a bit. I emphatically disagree with the suggestion that students be allowed to take borrowed specimens home for study. At the very least this is not a decision that the borrower should make without consultation with and the agreement of the loaner. I don't know what the practical impact would be of having a student sign off on a statement of responsibility.
Norman F. Johnson
Moser Chair in Arthropod Biosystematics & Biological Diversity
1220 Museum of Biological Diversity
1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212
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