Geology museum valuable to community
We’re growing a bit concerned with the haziness surrounding the future of the Rutgers Geology Museum.
The Daily Targum reported last week on rumors circulating about the museum closing down. The article included a lot of back and forth regarding the details, the denial of its closing and a retraction of a statement confirming the rumor. There are a lot of discrepancies about whether the museum will be repurposed, shut down or remain as is — and because of the geology museum’s great importance to the University community, we really hope that it’s the former.
The museum was founded in 1872 and has since become one of the most historic geological attractions in New Jersey. While we are staunchly against any possibility of closing the museum down, we are open to the idea of repurposing it to better suit the University’s needs. The museum takes up a lot of space and is not well-advertised — so many students are not aware of its existence, let alone the unique experience it offers.
Repurposing the museum into an auditorium might make the facility more useful to the student body and allow for greater traffic. The primary thing we are concerned with, however, is the preservation of the relics it does withhold. As long as all items of historic or educational value remain in the possession of the University and available to the public in the repurposed facility, there is no reason why we shouldn’t upgrade the museum to make it more relevant.
We would hate for the museum to face a similar fate as that of Princeton University. After repurposing the museum and promising to preserve its relics, Princeton stalled redisplaying them and eventually announced that they were simply shutting down the facility, leaving a number of important items in storage to this day.
The museum is a significant fixture to our school. As soon as rumors began circulating of its impending closure, a Facebook page popped up entitled “Save the Rutgers Geology Museum,” garnering more than 400 likes in less than a week. Clearly, the student body is not going to give up on the museum easily, with one of its most popular attractions being a mammoth display.
While repurposing the museum might not be a bad idea, the relics are very valuable — not only to the University, but to the state as a whole — and therefore must be preserved in any future plans for the facility.