The things themselves
I haven't blogged in ages but I'll try to add stuff on a more regular basis. The move from college professor to museum curator has been time consuming. In efforts to make the switch to museum curator I've been brushing up on my taxonomy and systematics. I ran across this quote in the book Describing Species: Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists by Judith E. Winston. It's from the father of modern systematics, the Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus, and it sums up the essence of a natural history museum, and well, any museum.
"The first step in wisdom is to know the things themselves" - Linnaeus (1735)
The alter-ego to the Cincinnati Museum Center across the Ohio in northern Kentucky, the Creation Museum, has been called a theme park rather than a museum precisely because it has no collections. Any institutions calling themselves "museums" who have no actual collections or any museums whose exhibits show no actual objects should consider Linnaeus' words.