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January 26, 2006

Burke Museum Takes Steps to Review the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections

Seattle -- The Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington recently commisioned a report on the Burke Museum’s vertebrate paleontological collections. The Dean, in consultation with the Burke Museum, had invited three professional vertebrate paleontologists to assess the collection and provide recommendations for ensuring its continued scholarly value. Professor Emeritus John Rensberger was the primary collector of these materials.

The report is complimentary to the Burke Museum’s professionalism and offers six recommendations ranging from obtaining documentation from Rensberger, to contacting government agencies from whose lands Rensberger may have collected. These are currently being followed by the Burke Museum staff, who expect to complete the process in the coming months. The full report is online here (PDF file).

Professor Emeritus John Rensberger was the collector of the objects in question. As curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum from 1967 to 2004, he built the vertebrate paleontology collection up from 400 specimens to over 45,000. He retired in June of 2004 and is working with the museum staff to maintain the collection’s integrity as a viable resource for future researchers. Rensberger is no longer affiliated with the Burke Museum. Dr. Christian Sidor was recently hired to replace him as curator of vertebrate paleontology.

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