Volume 43 | Number 1 | Fall 2012

Idaho Museum of Natural History Has New Affiliation

Fall 2012 Issue

The Idaho Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University has announced a new affiliation and new cooperative research ventures with the Smithsonian Institution.

"This is a great opportunity for Idaho," said Herbert Maschner, director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History. "We're the only museum in the state with a Smithsonian Affiliation, and one of the few in the Intermountain West."

Smithsonian Affiliations offers museums, educational and cultural organizations across the country the opportunity to have greater access to Smithsonian collections and resources. Through the Smithsonian Affiliations Program, the Smithsonian shares its artifacts, programs, and expertise across America. The Idaho Museum of Natural History will now be able to host Smithsonian Institute exhibits.

In addition to borrowing objects from the Smithsonian's collections, many Affiliates are incorporating the outreach services the Institution offers—for curriculum development in local schools, lectures, traveling exhibitions, workshops, study tours and other programs. The Smithsonian also shares its staff expertise in areas of conservation, collections care and exhibition development with Affiliate partners.

With this new Smithsonian Affiliation, those who join as Friends of the Idaho Museum of Natural History will also become members of the Smithsonian and receive the Smithsonian Magazine and other benefits, such as discounts at Smithsonian Museum stores, the Smithsonian Catalogue, SmithsonianStore.com and to some Smithsonian exhibits.

The Smithsonian has entered into a two-year collaboration with IMNH's Virtualization Laboratory to digitally scan bone artifacts and other items from Smithsonian collections. Robert Schlader and Nicholas Clement from the IMNH Virtualization Laboratory will travel to Washington, D.C., to take images of Smithsonian collections, and then produce 3-D digital records that will then be transferred back to the Smithsonian.

"The fact that the Smithsonian Institution recognizes the unique services of our 3-D Virtualization Laboratory, and saw the opportunity for us to work together, is a credit to the work we do," Maschner said. "It is an honor to be working with one of the finest museums in the world."

As part of these agreements, the Smithsonian Institution will also send a conservator specializing in methods of preserving and displaying natural history collections, including everything from feathers to fossils.

"These new agreements with the Smithsonian are so wonderful and exciting that I don't even know how to process it," Maschner said. "And they will bring great recognition to Idaho State University."