Closing UNI Museum could have big impact - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Closing UNI Museum could have big impact

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The buzz around budget cuts at the University of Northern Iowa has largely focused on the closing of Price Lab School.  But another campus staple, the UNI Museum, is also set to shut down this summer.  Get this:  staff members say 75,000 people are impacted by the museum each year!  So of course, the potential closure presents real concerns.    

Some people who have lived in Black Hawk County for years are just now taking the opportunity to tour the UNI Museum, knowing that it's slated to close in just a few months.  In its 120-year history, the museum has amassed a collection of 120,000 items.

"The museum is a visual representation of the quality of the campus, of what you can do, what professors are doing in their research.  It's a way to connect the campus to the community," said Dr. Sue Grosboll, UNI Museum director.

Between school field trips and programs staff do at local schools, the museum impacts 75,000 people every year.  The museum's reach also extends to dozens of UNI students.  Twenty-five students each year intern at the museum, putting together and presenting programs, while also doing research.

"Faculty are not pleased, some, that this is going to close because our programs, our exhibits, and our internships for students are directly integrated into their academic programs," Dr. Grosboll said.

As part of UNI budget cuts, President Ben Allen is proposing the museum continue downsizing its collection, with pieces being displayed in buildings across campus.  That could make it tougher for students in different fields to do collaborative research.  Local schools won't have a central place for students to soak in its history.

So much like Price Lab, the museum is hanging on to hope that just maybe the legislature can keep its funding, or that a building can be donated to house its collection.

Right now, the museum is set to shut down June 30, but staff will stick around after that, to pack up the extensive collection and move it to places across UNI's campus.

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