Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
October 23, 2013
MONMOUTH -- If you didn't make it to the September salmon bake at the Jensen Arctic Museum, the next chance to see the 5,000 piece collection will be next year some time -- in Eugene.
The long-awaited official word came last last month that the museum, housed at Western Oregon University since 1985, would be moving its collection to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) at the University of Oregon.
Talks of moving the museum -- the only museum on the West Coast dedicated solely to the culture and ecology of the Arctic -- have been ongoing for years but Western chose to cease funding the museum this year due to budget constraints.
It was only a matter of time.
"It's a great collection. I'm glad we have a home for it here in Oregon," Western President Mark Weiss said. "I'm glad the home is in Eugene where they have the capabilities and expertise to display it well. It's a very good win for the collection."
The process now centers around moving and storing the 5,000 artifacts.
That task has been made much easier thanks to State Representative Nancy Nathanson of Eugene.
During the 2013 legislative session, Nathanson helped secure $900,000 to move and store the items in another museum from one museum to the other.
"We are delighted to be able to take it in and give it good archival quality storage," said Kristin Strommer, MNCH communications and marketing specialist. "It's a really important collection."
Being the state's primary repository for anthropological and paleontological collections, it made sense and was appropriate for the Jensen Museum exhibits to make its new home at the MNCH, Weiss said.
For now, Western has no plans for the facility currently used by the Jensen Museum.
With the move expected to be complete around April 2014 but no later than June, Western is in no hurry.
"It will be used for the best use possible," Weiss said. "I'm not sure what that use will be, but there will absolutely need to be an architectural review to look at the suitability of the space."
Current Jensen Museum curator Roben Itchoak has been working with donors and UO to coordinate the move and make as seamless a transition as possible.
"There's not a final date; it's a negotiable date," Itchoak said. "In the agreement, the entire collection should be transferred by June. So, there's quite a while.