Compassionate collection involves a reorientation in the way we (the natural history museum community) relate to the animals we study. Considering where we are as a society — in this period of simultaneous biodiversity loss and technological growth — we can see that we do not need to sacrifice rigorous research to preserve animal lives (and vice versa). Rather, when we center compassion in museum science, we open the door to a more resilient, diverse, and innovative future for natural history museums.
What is compassionate collection in practice?
Growing museum collections through improved storage and databasing of non-lethal samples such as tissues, recordings, photos, or other individual-based data.
Maintaining museum collections by investing in infrastructure that prioritizes the longevity of existing specimens and samples.
Embracing new technologies to unlock the potential of existing collections and optimize new collection practices for emerging research applications.
Welcoming a new generation of diverse museum scientists by building community around connection and respect for the wildlife around us and the planet that we share.
The idea of compassionate collection was partially inspired by the growing compassionate conservation movement. Here are just a few papers discussing this topic: