The University of Montana Paleontology Center Collections Policy Statement

Purpose

The purpose of the University of Montana Paleontology Center (UMPC) is to collect, preserve, interpret, and utilize fossils for research, exhibition, and education; in order to enhance knowledge and delight in the natural sciences and promote research in paleontology.

Acquisition

The UMPC is a repository for state and federal fossils. It acquires new fossils by means of gifts, permanent loans, and by field excavation by staff, students, and associates. All specimens are acquired in a manner that complies with the laws and regulations of their place and country of origin, including jurisdictions of the state and federal government of the United States. This includes obtaining a valid paleontological collecting permits, as well as permits for the import and export of fossils. The UMPC makes every effort to assure that the standards of collecting ethics are followed and will accept donations of fossils only if the provider presents proof that the specimen(s) were collected legally. Fossils purchased by the UMPC for education and research are done so with every effort to follow national standards of paleontological ethics and regulations. A statement issued jointly by the Paleontological Society and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology concerning the regulation of fossil collecting is available at: http://www.vertpaleo.org/society/polstatpubliclands.cfm. The UMPC does not engage in bartering or selling nor does it provide appraisals or assessments of monetary value of fossils. The acquisition of fossil plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates for the UMPC is aimed at strengthening the current holdings and broadening specific areas of growth in support of research. For more information concerning the regulation of fossil collecting see: http://serc.carleton.edu/research_education/paleontology/ethics.html

Collection Organization and Access

The collections of the UMPC consist of plants, invertebrate, and vertebrate fossils that are housed in the basement of the C.H. Clapp Building in the Department of Geosciences. They are organized by geologic age and geographic location. For an overview of the main areas of the paleontology collections, as well as directions to the collections, please see the UMPC web site: http://www.cas.umt.edu/paleontology/default.htm.

The UMPC provides access electronic and physical to collection and exhibits for education and research during regular business hours of the University. Physical access is permitted in response to written/verbal research inquiries or general paleontological questions and will lend specimens to institutions or their representatives for research, educational, or exhibition purposes. The UMPC encourages the scientific and public community to utilize the electronic collections data base that is available at http://www.umt.edu/geosciences/Museum/Welcome.htm. The UMPC screens data on specific site locations and this information is not available to the general public. This specific site information is provided through written/verbal request at the discretion of the curator and collections manager.

For security, the Curator authorizes access and the Collections Manager facilitates this access, including key check out. Information generated from the UMPC research collection specimens is the property of the Museum. All users of this information are required to acknowledge the UMPC as the source, whether information is obtained from specimens or from archives in print or in electronic format.

The archives contain many types of records that are associated with the collections. These records are in the form of field notes, correspondence, photographs, books, maps, publications, electronic media, and manuscripts. Since the original documents have historical and legal importance, use and access is restricted. Only under special circumstances will the original documents be loaned. Otherwise, the materials may be studied on site or paper/electronic copies can be made at the expense of the visitor/borrower.

Loan Regulations

The UMPC will make loans of fossil specimens in support of research endeavors to qualified researchers, professionals, and institutions at the discretion of the Curator and Collections Manager. Loans may be made for students engaged in research projects if their academic advisor takes direct responsibility for the loan and signs the loan agreement. Type specimens are loaned for periods up to 6 months and other specimens are loaned for periods up to one year. Extension of loans for additional months may be granted by the Curator/Collections Manager upon receipt of a written request. Reasons for extensions of type specimens should be discussed in person or over the phone. No loan can exceed 5 years (except a permanent transfer). However, exceptions to the loan period can be made by the curator.

Loan forms list the specimen(s) to be loaned by catalog number, number of elements included, and a description of the specimen(s). By signing the loan agreement included with this list, the loanee agrees to abide by these regulations.

By signing the loan agreement, the loanee agrees to return the borrowed specimen(s) upon written/verbal request by the UMPC. If the loanee fails to respond or return loaned material after requests for the specimens to be returnal, the UMPC may take legal actions to effect the return. In such a case the loannee agrees to pay the required legal costs.

Staffing

The Curator and Director of the UMPC is Professor George Stanley, who oversees the general operations of the center. He devotes his time to supervising the UMPC, teaching, and research. Kallie Moore, the full-time Collections Manager, maintains, organizes, protects, and curates the collection, as well as supervises the student workers and volunteers. Part-time student workers are also employed by the UMPC. Many students become involved in working in the UMPC as volunteers and others obtain university credit through an intern class, "Curation Techniques". The UMPC is not active during part of the summer months but loans and access by special permission can be arranged.