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Field Museum reorganizes science departments
Field Museum officials announced Thursday that they reorganized 166 employees under a new department title, the first major change in the internal structure of the museum in 120 years.
The museum had been organized in roughly the same departments –anthropology, botany, geology and zoology –since its founding in 1893. A new department called Environment, Culture and Conservation (ECCo) was added in 1995. On Thursday, officials said all museum science staff employees are now working for the Science & Education unit, headed by Debra Moskovits, a museum vice president who formerly led ECCo.
“The Field Museum is, and will continue to be, one of the world’s top scientific institutions,” said Museum President Richard Lariviere in a statement released by the museum. “The new plan not only saves money, it makes us better by more sharply focusing our efforts. A 19th century organizational model doesn’t make sense today. We need to break down barriers and communicate more directly to the public.”
In December, Lariviere announced the museum would launch a fundraising campaign to shore up its endowment by $100 million. In 2012, the museum ran a deficit of $5 million on a $70 million annual operating fund, he said.
“Everything is on the table,” he told the Sun-Times editorial board in December including staff layoffs and changes to long-standing exhibits.
Buyouts were offered to select Field Museum staff last month. No one has been laid off at this point as a result of the reorganization, said Emily Waldren, museum spokeswoman. Lariviere also said Thursday that museum staff are in discussion with the University of Chicago and University of Ililnois at Chicago regarding museum research.