University Museums in the USA (SCRC no. 3)
University Museums in the USA
Blake Slagter, writer, USA
1st June 2018*
The USA is home to over 4,000 colleges and universities, and many of them are fortunate to have their own museums. The museums offer education – and some entertainment - on a wide range of topics from modern art to natural science. They are an important part of university learning and some have important research functions and communicate with the science world.
A large number of university museums are focused on art or history, with science-based museums being less common. Some of the university science museums are highly regarded. Although most are open to the public for exhibition and education, the main focus of university museums is often on research, collections, and curation. The Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, for example, has a collection of over 1.4 million artifacts and specimens related to several scientific fields, and is sure to impress any casual visitor. It also boasts cutting-edge laboratories for specimen preparation and research.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia acts as both a research center and a public museum. It is known for thrilling live-animal presentations and educational natural science shows for members of the public. It is home to a large community of researchers and career naturalists who are dedicated to environmental and natural sciences. The university and museum staff have published many journal articles in the fields of environmental science, systematics, and evolution.
One of the most prestigious museums in the world belongs to the highly-regarded Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut. The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale has existed since 1866 and is well known to the public for its Great Hall of Dinosaurs display. The Peabody Museum is home to many important paleontology displays, including fossil collections considered to be some of the most historically significant in the world. The museum is a popular public space, and is also an active research center with over 100 full and part-time staff members, including curators and researchers. They publish widely based on continuous research across diverse fields including anthropology, zoology, and paleontology.
University museums all over the USA have provided education and entertainment for the public, as well as being active in the science community. Many different topics can be explored at these museums, and they make for great day trips, especially for potential students who are interested in attending the universities. University museums can pique the interest of any traveler from across the world, are making significant contributions to higher education in the USA, and are striving to make research and scientific information accessible to the general public.
* This article was commissioned and first published here by The Research Cooperative. It remains copyright of the author, but may be reused with attribution, for non-commercial purposes, under the terms of our Creative Commons License. Font: Verdana, 12pt.
The article may be cited as: Blake Slagter (2018) University Museums in the USA. Short Communications of the Research Cooperative, no. 3, e1 (Internet, 5th April 2014).