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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
1505 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS, 39211
Phone: 601-432-2400

Monday, March 05, 2012

MS Museum of Natural Science Expands Research & Collections Section

Jackson, MS …Today, Senator Thad Cochran and Chris Zachow, president of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation, joined officials from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to dedicate and tour the Mississippi Center for Conservation and Biodiversity (MCCB).  The MCCB is an expansion of the Museum's existing collections and laboratory space which houses more than one million scientific specimens.  Prior to the construction of this $5 million dollar research facility expansion, many of the Museum's collections were at or near storage capacity.

"Much of what we understand about our world, we owe to the collection, preservation, and study of natural specimens.  Properly preserved collections of plants, animals, and fossils are libraries of Earth's history, and are vital to our ability to learn about the past and future," explainedLibby Hartfield, museum director.  "This knowledge helps guide decision making that leads to healthy ecosystems which benefit our citizens now and into the future.  The work undertaken as far back as the 1930's by the Museum's first director, Miss Fannye Cooke, still impacts us today.  And the work that the MCCB engages in now will impact the lives of our children and their grandchildren."

 For more than eighty years a primary objective of the Museum has been to document and research Mississippi's biological resources in addition to educating and entertaining the more than 150,000 Mississippians and tourists to our great State that visit the Museum each year.

At today's dedication, Hartfield announced that the American Association of Museums (AAM) has renewed the Mississippi institution's museum accreditation.  Accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to museums.  Accredited museums are looked up to as leaders in the field and must be re-accredited every ten years.  The

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science has been accredited since 1982.

SenatorThad Cochran,praising the reaccreditation and the importance of the MCCB scientific collections to the citizens of Mississippi, said, "Natural science collections are fundamental reference points for measuring and monitoring human health, safety, and the state of our planet. They are also essential to the advancement of research in the biological, earth, and environmental sciences.  The Museum already has a very good reputation as a museum and scientific research facility.  That reputation has been reaffirmed with its renewed museum accreditation and its expanded research facilities."

 The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation supports the Museum on projects, including the expansion, exhibits, research and education that the Museum provides. This involvement aids the Museum in maintaining its AAM Accreditation.  "The Foundation is proud to have played a role in this expansion project that will allow the staff to continue their vital work," saidChris Zachow, foundation president.  "The Museum already has a reputation and tradition of leadership within the state and throughout the nation.  It has been recognized as the state's top travel attraction numerous times and is regularly awarded designations as a top museum by local and statewide reader polls of popular parenting and lifestyle publications."

Funding for this project was provided by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service. Senator Cochran supported federal funding through his role as vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Scott Eddy and the staff from Barlow, Eddy, Jenkins Architects designed the expansion and David and Leanna England of England Enterprises constructed the expansion.  (See page four for a listing of the collections in the MCCB).

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