Report says Maine scientific collections at risk

Posted Nov. 29, 2009, at 12:41 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine State Museum draft report says irreplaceable bird egg, insect and other scientific collections stored in the basements and attics of state-owned buildings are deteriorating and at risk of being lost.

Registrar Paula Work told the Kennebec Journal that museum staff visited more than 40 collections stored at 11 state agencies and university campuses.

Among those at risk are an early 19th-century bird egg collection, a freshwater mussel shell collection and an insect collection. Some are stored in haphazardly in boxes in attics and basements with temperature and humidity extremes.

The report is still in draft form and will be presented early next year to the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, which oversees museum operations.

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