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Scientific Collections: Mission-Critical Infrastructure for Federal Science Agencies

The IWGSC promotes responsible stewardship of the object-based scientific collections that serve the missions of the U.S. Federal Government. This clearinghouse provides information about the history of the IWGSC, the participating U.S. Federal Departments and Agencies, and the policies that govern the stewardship of these resources.

The U.S. Federal Scientific Collections registry (USFSC) is an online portal that provides top-level information about the scientific collections owned by the Federal Government and their parent institutions.


In Substantial Shift, Museum Industry Group Pushes Directors to Break the Rules to Survive

As art museum directors across the United States confront balance sheets devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, the field’s leading professional organization has adopted temporary measures aimed at giving them greater flexibility in how they manage their finances.

This is how bad things are for museums: They now have a green light to sell off their art

However, in an unprecedented move, and as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the AAMD has recently relaxed its guidelines. It’s too soon to gauge the effect, but it is already big news in the art world. Once unthinkable, the notion of selling off a Claude Monet or two to plug a budgetary hole — or to fend off a total financial meltdown — is suddenly something to contemplate.

[18 May 2020]

Many members of the IWGSC participated in a workshop at the National Denfense University in April 2019. Diane DiEuliis, IWGSC Executive Secretary, and her team put together a compelling agenda, hosted an audience that brought together many federal agencies and other stakeholders, and compiled a summary report. 

The summary and additional details are on the meeting page on the NDU website.

[18 Oct 2019]

UK Biobank Requires Earth's Geneticists To Cooperate, Not Compete

What makes UK Biobank valuable is not only the half-million volunteers, whose health will be followed for decades, but also its community-spirited scientific strategy. Chief scientist Dr. Cathie Sudlow says the organizers, in a break from their usual ways, aren't out to answer their own scientific questions, but to serve their colleagues.

Read the full story on


How Should Scientists' Access To Health Databanks Be Managed?

Three major projects in the United States illustrate these differing philosophies.

The first project involves three-quarters of a million veterans, mostly men over age 60. Every day, 400 to 500 blood samples show up in a modern lab in the basement of the Veterans Affairs hospital in Boston. Luis Selva, the center's associate director, explains that robots extract DNA from the samples and then the genetic material is sent out for analysis.

The blood samples themselves end up in gigantic, automated freezers for future use — one in Boston and a backup facility at a VA location in Albuquerque, N.M.

Read the full story on

[05 Sep 2019]

Proposed budget cuts to the University of Alaska system would imapct, among many other things, the system's museum and collections.  

From the article in the Anchorage Daily News:

The impact of such a state funding cut, [museum director Pat Druckenmiller] said, "would be devastating to the museum.”

The museum houses a collection of 2.5 million objects including artifacts, specimens and art. “We cannot just turn off the lights and walk away from those,” he said. “These are the things that represent our state’s history.” That collection is also vital for research, which brings in federal dollars, Druckenmiller said.

[30 Jul 2019]

Nature Article 

The battle to rebuild centuries of science after an epic inferno: Nearly a year after flames consumed Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, researchers are struggling to revive their work and resume their lives.

[30 Jul 2019]