Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
MUSEUMS IN THE NATIONAL PARKS
PARTICIPATION OF THE RANGER NATURALISTS IN MUSEUM ACTIVITIES
By C. Frank Brockman
Because of the fact that the park museum serves as a primary point of contact with the public through various informative services and as a focal point of curiosity or of interest the Ranger Naturalist stationed at this point has a decided responsibility to the museum.
An outline of his responsibility might be listed as follows:
I. Regular duty at museum: The Ranger Naturalist should, of course, be required to spend certain and specified hours on museum duty and in this connection general personality and ability to meet the public and affably mix with and interest the museum visitors in seeing the park is of primary importance. Technical training is obviously of necessity but no subject should be unduly stressed in museum contacts — he should endeavor to present a broad and general picture. In regular museum duty he should:
(1) Expound the information wherever necessary as it appears on the labels to interested visitors.
(2) Direct the museum so that its purpose as a “key” to the park is developed to the utmost. This can be best accomplished by mixing with the visitors, determining their interest, or their most likely interest and in a conversational manner arousing their curiosity on certain areas so that they will visit it out of their own initiative.
(3) He should single out people interested in his park, get name, address and other facts for the park records.
(4) Scientists should be encouraged to give suggestions.
(5) Possibly an effort should be made toward donations and accruing accessions, but at any rate ho should do all in his power to arouse interest and build up a following among the visitors that will persist after they leave the park.
II. Study of museum and aiding in its improvement and in the development of ideas. This is particularly important in parks where museum activities are just beginning to take form. The Ranger Naturalist can help a great deal by giving his opinions on the type of museum buildings necessary, their location, architecture, etc. Also the arrangement of exhibits of the present or future building and in the suggestion of new exhibits, their manner of preparation, etc.
III. Collection of objects for scientific or general educational purposes. He should keep open eyes at all times in performing his varying duties for objects of interest that would be suitable for inclusion in museum and must bring them in or make a report as to their location if not able to do so.
1. Dell, H. R. Training Museum Workers. Proc. A. A. of Museums, Vol. XI, 1917.
2. Russell, C. P. Responsibilities of Ranger Naturalist on Museum Duty. Yos. R. N. Manual, Vol. I, 1929, P. 21.
The discussion which followed this paper was directed chiefly toward two of the many interesting points, namely, (1) the possibility of interesting the visiting public in the out-of-doors through the medium of the museum and, (2) the probability that the museum will aid in attracting to the park visitors who are especially interested in that region and in the story of the park.