The offices for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) will now occupy the building adjacent to the UConn Bookstore formally the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, as part of the UConn 2014 Academic Plan.
This change will mean that the museum will no longer have permanent exhibits to offer on campus. The Office of Public Engagement is set to diversify the museums collection with an online database and traveling public exhibitions.
The state archeologist, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, will remain on campus with the museum staff. Their jobs will not change and UConn will maintain the collections they work on. They will be moved to different offices across campus.
When the museum was created in 1985 by state law, founding director Carl Rettenmeyer wanted to combine the many collections throughout Connecticut and the University in one central place. The museum was official in 1988, but had been started in 1983 by Rettenmeyer.
The museum will still maintain its independent governing board in spite of new location changes.
“We’re going to be bringing the museum to the people, so to speak,” E. Carol Polifroni, director of the Public Engagement Office, said.
The museum’s most famous collection is the Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection, which is one of the most premier in the world. The museum also offers an archeology field school, lectures on biological research and learning opportunities for all ages.
“I think that the natural history museum was for the whole state,” Erin Dunn, fifth-semester political science major, said.
“Museums are very important to me and that museum was part of state and school history. I understand the need for more space for university offices, but this is an unfortunate change.”
Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.