A Message from President Ellen V. Futter

This is an important time for the American Museum of Natural History. A time when many of the most critical issues—the environment, human health, cultural conflict, science education, and workforce development—are closely aligned with the Museum’s work in Science and Education. A time when individuals and families seek reliable information as well as compelling experiences around these and other topics. A time when policymakers look for information and counsel in addressing science- and education-based challenges. A time when the world has become ever more complex and interconnected, when we are all looking for inspiration and greater understanding along with the joy of discovering something new.

A time, in short, that calls upon this Museum to continue to push the boundaries of what it means to be a museum and what museums can contribute to society. And so, this year alone, the Museum has:

  • Become the first U.S. museum to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching Science;
  • Traveled the world to study the complex relationships among species and habitats to better understand threats to the environment;
  • Brought schoolchildren, families, and the general public up close and personal with magical animals that produce their own light in the exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, and with live arachnids in Spiders Alive;
  • Continued to preserve its home base in New York City through a major restoration of the main Central Park West entrance, with its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, and the Hall of North American Mammals, with its habitat dioramas, widely considered the finest in the world; and
  • Launched a new, user-friendly, content-rich website while infusing digital technology into all aspects of its work to deepen and sustain a dialogue around science, nature, and culture with people around the world, whether they visit the Museum or not.

Through all of these efforts and numerous others, the Museum is committed to sustaining its role as a trusted guide for families, children, teachers, and the public and a source of wonder and inspiration, while revealing new scientific discoveries and pioneering new ways to bring its resources and expertise to bear on the 21st century’s most pressing and promising issues.

Ours is a large, critical, yet joyful assignment, one that we wholeheartedly embrace. It is also one that requires significant support.  Please join us in this effort, as generously as you can.

Ellen V. Futter

November 2012