#SaveOurMuseum – an Update

Happy August to everyone. I wanted to give a quick update about the goings-on relating to my post. First off, THANK YOU to everyone who provided responses here or sent messages of support for the UA Museum of the North. It has been so heartwarming to hear from our colleagues all over the world telling our Regents and Legislators how much our museum, and museums like us, matter to society. On Monday, the UA Board of Regents met for six hours to discuss how to move forward with the $135 million cut to our state appropriation and to directly address the Office of Management and Budget’s proposal to zero out all state funding for research at UAF and the museum. Two separate regents on three different occasions spoke with passion about the value of the museum and our collections, for preserving our cultural heritage and for holding a long record of the natural and cultural history of Alaska. No other single university unit received such a positive and strong presence at the meeting. This is certainly in part due to the advocacy efforts of our colleagues. Thank you for your efforts.

Moving forward, we believe the immediate threat to the Museum is over for the moment, but sadly not completely eliminated. As our director has stated to staff, cuts are inevitable and how much of a burden our museum will carry as part of the reduced funding to the entire University is not clear yet. Much of it depends on how our governor proceeds with the appropriation bill sitting on his desk. If anyone is still interesting in writing letters of support for the UAMN, we are encouraging them to be directed to our Board of Regents and the University President, Jim Johnsen. As the University looks toward consolidation across our massive system, letters that speak to the value of the museum and our collections can only help us retain a spot of prominence and value in the new organization.

Thank you again for the show of support on such short notice. And because I take care of the History collections at UAMN, I am of course keeping copies of these letters to document this particular chapter in the history of the museum and the university.

With deepest gratitude and humility, we turn the page for our next phase of work.

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