On February 4, I attended the AAPS (Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences) Lecture Series and book signing at the RMGM Mineral & Fossil Show at La Quinta Inn - Reid Park in Tucson.
Andre Lujan presented a well-informed lecture on “Commercial Paleontology and the Future of Museums.” Lujan is president of Paleo Tex, LLC, and executive director of Texas Through Time, a 501c3 museum of paleontology located in Hillsboro, Texas.
Lujan's approach towards the Texas Through Time museum serves as a unique and progressive look into what may be the future of this type of academic institution. He explains that a “paradigm shift” is needed and that small regional museums that lend credence to a more cultural context and seek to serve all socio-economic populations may be the best way forward and the easiest way to capture interest in paleontology.
Lujan also introduced a progressive perspective toward paleontology as a business. He feels that driving the paleontology profession towards a more service-oriented approach (i.e. prepping fossils, consultations, etc.) — rather than making the sale of fossils the primary objective — is the best, most professional way to drive the commercial side of paleontology. Additionally, Lujan noted that a shift is needed that offers competitive and fair wages. Lujan believes that placing more of an emphasis on the value of time, experience, and knowledge along with engaging in meaningful dialogue with academic institutions is the best way to bring about these changes.
Thomas Wiewandt was also promoting his book, Fossils Inside Out: A Global Fusion of Science, Art & Culture, at the event, and signed copies of the book were made available. Weiwandt is a local Tucsonan with a passion for both science and art. Readers will certainly recognize Weiwandt’s passions balancing together to create an attractive coffee-table style book on fossils that appeals to readers of all ages.
For more information on AAPS and its upcoming events visit https://www.xpopress.