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September 22, 2008

Museum leaders gather in Ottawa for fifth anniversary of Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada

OTTAWA – Leaders of Canada’s major natural history museums convene in Ottawa on September 22 and 23, 2008 for the annual meeting of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada (ANHMC). It’s the fifth anniversary of this network, created in 2003 to enhance collaborative work in the areas of research, collections development and education about the natural environment.

“By sharing our knowledge and resources, we are improving our ability to help Canadians understand our rich natural history and the important environmental issues facing us,” explains Pauline Rafferty, President of the ANHMC and Director of the Royal British Columbia Museum. “We are working on a national strategy for developing a collection that will represent all of Canada’s biodiversity. This meeting is an important opportunity for members from across the country to come together to work out our next steps.”

A special reception will be held the evening of September 23 on Parliament Hill, where the second annual Bruce Naylor Award will be presented.  The award recognizes significant contributions to museum-based natural history in Canada. This year’s recipient is Dr. Jon C. Barlow, the former Curator of Ornithology at the Royal Ontario Museum. Barlow is considered one of the world’s leading authority on vireos (small to medium-sized songbirds) and also led the University of Toronto’s Museum Studies Program.

The ANHMC is also involved in educational outreach activities. In 2008, it launched a national lecture series and youth forums to mark International Polar Year. Polar Perspectives has been developed in collaboration with the educational organization Students on Ice and continues at member institutions across Canada throughout fall 2008.

The ANHMC’s 13 members from west to north to east are: the Royal British Columbia Museum, Royal Alberta Museum, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Manitoba Museum, Royal Ontario Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, Montreal’s Nature Museums (Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Gardens and Planetarium), New Brunswick Museum, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, and The Rooms Provincial Museum, Newfoundland and Labrador.

These institutions are responsible for preserving the record of Canada’s natural history through time. Together, member museums safeguard more than 19 million catalogued specimens of plants, animals, minerals and fossils collected over 150 years. The purpose of the national collections strategy is to ensure that this crucial record is complete and is preserved in perpetuity.

For more information and to arrange interviews, contact:
Elizabeth McCrea
Canadian Museum of Nature
(613) 566-4249; (613) 868-8277 (cell)