Carnegie buyouts

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On Thanksgiving day it was announced that a number of curators in the Museum of Natural History were being offered buyouts (“Carnegie History Museum Offers Buyouts to Curators,” Nov. 28). I began bringing my children to the museum more than 50 years ago and have been a donor for many years. Considering the current importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, I find it hard to believe that the museum would want to let go nearly all of its scientists.

Several years ago, after hearing a talk by Chris Beard, I volunteered to work in the Paleolab. I learned to identify and pick teeth from samples brought back from the field and to remove matrix from bone using dental picks and air scribes, and even went to Montana on a field trip in search of 30 million-year-old mouse teeth.

As a member (then) of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, I attended the annual meeting where the Carnegie’s Mary Dawson received the Romer-Simpson award, the first American woman and the second woman ever. I gained an appreciation of the science of vertebrate paleontology and the importance of the museum’s work in the field.

If you Google and click on “Our Science” you will see listed four centers, and if you click on “staff” you will see that nearly all have been offered buyouts. What will happen to these programs? Without their research, where will we get new material to keep us coming back to the museum again and again?


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