2005-01-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/8585
How to develop an unrecognized scientific heritage
the case of the University of Liege Zoological collections, Belgium
This paper presents the nature and value of the zoological collections conserved in the University of Liege zoological museum.1 The "hidden" collections comprise the scientific heritage of former and even famous researchers (e.g., Edouard Van Beneden and his students) ignored by most University of Liege researchers and administrators, and thus little utilized. Since World War II and the development of official public opening, researchers have not considered the museum to be the central place to preserve their study material and specimens. Collection management in the past twelve years has been oriented toward scientific development of the collections. This has led to the creation of computerized databases of collection holdings, a museum web site, collection care workshops for volunteers, thematic exhibitions, publications and participation in conferences with increasing attendance. Despite the accomplishments and successes of these volunteer activities, the University appears to care little about scientific development, instead favoring the collection's didactic value and public engagement. The museum and the aquarium actually are merged and collection management of both is the responsibility of the aquarium curator. The total activities, accomplishments and efforts needed to preserve the collections are not considered important enough to justify a separate museum curator. Therefore, the future of the "hidden" scientific collections remains uncertain.
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