UMAC invites all its members to participate in the upcoming online debate organised by UNIVERSEUM, the European University Heritage Network, about the challenges and opportunities faced by university museums, collections in Europe and elsewhere.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, presently meeting in Krakow, Poland, just announced that the Neustadt — the late 19th and early 20th century urban development of the city of Strasbourg, which includes at its very heart the University of Strasbourg (the University Palace depicted in the photo, but also the Astronomical Observatory, the Botanic Garden, the Zoology Museum and Jardin des Sciences, and several other buildings) — just entered the World Heritage List.
UMAC is extremely glad and proud of these wonderful news and congratulates the city of Strasbourg, the University of Strasbourg, and all partners involved for this successful and entirely deserved recognition.
UMAC is delighted that UMAC member Sébastien Soubiran, from the Jardin des Sciences/University of Strasbourg (France), was elected President of UNIVERSEUM, the European University Heritage Network, on 10 June 2017.
UMAC wishes Sébastien the best promoting European university heritage in Europe and beyond. We are looking forward to even more collaborations with him and the newly-elected UNIVERSEUM Board.
We also profit to thank Sofia Talas, the former UNIVERSEUM President – also a UMAC member – her precious contribution to university museums and collections and to UMAC. The organisation of the last UMAC Annual Conference in Milan would have not been possible without her.
At one time in its history, the Zoology Collection of the Ghent University Museum had the skull of ‘Betsie’, a locally most famous elephant of the former Ghent Zoo (1851-1904). During this period many cadavers of animals were transferred to our collection for educational purposes. But when the Ghent Zoo presented the university with the cadaver of Betsie who died in the winter of 1887-1888, the university thought it to be too expensive to process. The zoo then decided to have only the skull cleaned for their own little museum. When the Zoo went bankrupt in 1904, the Zoology Collection bought the skull at the public sale of all the Zoo’s assets. This skull is of enormous cultural and historic value for the City of Ghent and its University. But sadly enough, not knowing what it was at the time, the skull was traded for other skull with a person called ‘Jan Cools’. When I became the curator of the Collection, and when I learned what the skull was, I tried to talk with Jan Cools who had already sold it to someone in England or even Canada, to ask him to get me the address. He promised to do so, but sadly enough he died two days later. So yet again, a dead end. 2017 is a triple anniversary: the Ghent university and the Zoology Collection are 200 years old, and I also this year I am a curator of this Collection for 20 years. It would be great to get Betsie back home for this anniversary. So now hear my appeal: please, please, help us find back the skull of the elephant Betsie, so we can bring her back home. If anyone recognizes parts of this story or the name Jan Cools, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; also read the extended story here.
There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the University Museum of Bergen, Department of Natural History within the field of mite systematics – acarology. The position is for a fixed-term period of 4 years, of which 25% is work duty in in the entomological collection.