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Penn Museum Criticized for Staff Cuts
by KYW’s Pat Loeb
The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology is attracting criticism for its plan to lay off 18 researchers, in the midst of an effort to make the museum more attractive to visitors.
It’s not that scientists are unsympathetic with the Museum’s situation. Samuel Taylor of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History says he’s faced the same onerous choices:
“The reason that this has become such an issue is what’s at stake if the choice they’re making is the wrong choice.”
Taylor says if the museum gives up researchers and puts resources into exhibits, it risks losing its legacy as a leader in the field, to focus on something it’s admitting is a weakness.
Museum director Richard Hodges says he’s not abandoning research but wants to make the museum a greater force in the cultural life of Philadelphia:
“What needs to be done is to make our exhibits more appealing to the city as a whole.”
Hodges says he wants better exhibits and research but the current economic climate makes it challenging.