Hi All, 

Agreed with Luc, Norm, and Greg - we're all witnessing firsthand the uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic. Having loaned specimens scattered in students' homes, under uncertain condition, risks loss or destruction of the collections the community has worked so hard to build over hundreds of years. Let's use this time to reflect, think, and write (thesis chapters!), as well as attend to our lives, which are going to experience a major upheaval in the coming months. In times like this, it's easy to get swept up in the moment and feel as though examining these specimens, right now is the most critical thing, but it's up to us to remember, we're a creative bunch - theses can be reworked, goals can be reassessed, and gaps can be filled in later. The specimens will be there when we return.

As it specifically relates the collection for which I'm currently the custodian - please, all Entomology specimens from the MCZ collection must remain at the borrowing institution for the duration of the loan.

That being said, you may decide for yourself whether you'd like to take certain "low risk" specimens from your own collections home - I've brought home a pile of material that I've collected over the years, in personal collecting, so that I can mount and label them. That will help keep me sane!



On Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 5:38 PM Leblanc, Luc ([log in to unmask]) <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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. 

Luc Leblanc

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

Phone: 208-885-7079



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

Fax: 412-688-8670

E-mail: [log in to unmask]


Biodiversity Services Facility

Section of Invertebrate Zoology

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

4400 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213


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Sent from Mail for Windows 10


From: Johnson, Norman
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2020 12:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Planning for next steps (or taking specimens home)


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

614-292-6595 wasps.osu.edu


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Crystal A. Maier, Ph.D.
Curatorial Associate, Entomology 
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138 U.S.A.

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