I recently shared the first results of last summer’s announcement that the Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was going to digitize its collection and upload it to the internet. But while I was cheering for the museum, it seems a storm was brewing. As noted in Inside Higher Ed, the museum’s decision to fire 18 research scientists has led to a petition.
the University Museum has uniquely characterized itself, as stated on the museum’s own website, as a research institution to “advance understanding of the world’s cultural heritage” (see the Museum’s mission statement). We understand the dismantling of the research infrastructure of the Museum as a drastic surgical gesture, a decisive act that will discontinue the possibility of future archaeological research in the above-mentioned fields.
At the moment the petition has over 3435 signatures.