Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
MUSEUMS IN THE NATIONAL PARKS
INTRODUCTION TO MUSEUM SESSIONS
By C. P. Russell
We have planned a five day program of Museum discussions that will cover scope, details of activities, installations, administration, and laboratory technique, including one day to be given to visits to local museums. Mr. Hall has requested that I prepare papers that will introduce the topics and afford a general picture of what each day’s work is to cover.
It is our ambition to secure a common viewpoint in all of our museum activities and, judging from results of the sessions that have preceded, open discussions of our museum affairs may be expected to do much toward placing us all on the same footing from which we can gain a proper perspective. In our consideration of museum problems we shall strive to answer such questions as the following:
Why create park museums?
How are park museums to be brought into existence?
What should constitute a park museum?
How are its features to be planned and installed?
What will be the management of a park museum?
To what extent can park personnel engage in technical museum preparation?
This list of questions might be extended indefinitely but in a broad way these six represent the subjects to be discussed during the next few days.
When we have completed today’s program we should have answered the question, “Why create park museums?” Papers that are to be read today all have to do with the functions and field of National Park museums. We are going to attempt to point out the fundamentals of our museum activities; how our field is related to other departments in the park organization; the part that the museum plays in the actual program of public contacts; and the museum duties that we may reasonably impose upon temporary Ranger Naturalists. When we have had opportunity to express our individual ideas we will seek a common understanding and attempt to formulate a policy regarding the extent of the field of action for National Park museums.