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Study: Nation's Scientific Assets Poorly Maintained

By Ed O'Keefe

Hundreds of thousands of animals and plants -- or their remains -- can be found in storage at the Natural History Museum (Post)

SEE MORE PHOTOS: From The Eye's Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the Natural History Museum (By The Post's Megan Rossman)

The Eye reports in today's Post:

Behind the Natural History Museum's exhibit halls, theaters and food court are large storage rooms full of rare animals, birds and plants collected and archived by government scientists since the 19th century but often overlooked and poorly maintained, according to scientists.

The Bush Administration had requested a formal accounting of nearly 300 collections at 14 federal agencies, including the Natural History Museum's collections, rare seeds stockpiled by the Agriculture Department and moon rocks obtained by NASA. The report was released last week.

The survey underscores the vast size and scope of the nation's scientific assets, but notes the shrinking pool of qualified support staff to maintain and manage them. Scientists on a tour today of the Natural Hisory Museum lamented the declining number of qualified taxidermists able to work with the Smithsonian's large collection.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 14, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, From The Pages of The Post  
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