Do you remember when you might get an indian-head nickel in change at the corner store? What happened to them all? Collectors have some, but most no longer exist. For most of us at the time, the face value of a nickel outweighed its potential worth as a collector's item sometime in the distant future. Yet someone with vision must preserve our history. The people who devoted a day or more of their lives a century ago to stuff a golden eagle for the Vertebrate Museum selflessly ensured that future generations would be able to see one. Today, eagles are rare and can no longer be collected. Many other species collected a century ago are even rarer than eagles now. Who knows what the future holds for other species? A museum doesn't materialize overnight, or even in a generation. It grows from the continued investment over many generations. It is our inheritance from past generations, and our responsibility to vouchsafe for generations of the future.
Volunteer, take biology classes, or make a donation. Volunteers can learn to skin birds, prepare skeletons, computerize specimen data, become a docent, and help to prepare exhibits. Formal biology classes range from Natural History of Life, Zoology, Herpetology, Ornithology, Avian Ecology, Field Ecology, Comparative Anatomy and Embryology, and Evolution. Tax-deductible donations may be monetary or legally obtained wildlife specimens. Donations will help us to make exhibits, ship new acquisitions from far-off lands, and take care of these treasures for future generations. Over the past century, the collection has grown from meager beginnings into a real museum. With the appropriate support and nurturing it can continue to grow into a vital part of our community with continuous access through public exhibits. The Museum belongs to the people of New Mexico. What it will become for our children depends on what we do today.