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Museum Collections Enriched
​SPECIAL MOMENT: At a function to honour two scientists, Prof Ara Monadjem (left) and Dr                Angelo Lambiris (second from right), were Parks, Recreation and Culture Head Thembinkosi Ngcobo, Senior Manager: Libraries and Heritage Tebogo Mzizi and Director of the Natural Science Museum Allison Ruiters
The Natural Science Museum honoured two scientists for their contributions to the City Hallbased institution at a ceremony recently. Bat expert Professor Ara Monadjem, of the University of Swaziland, and Doctor Angelo Lambiris, a herpetology consultant and surgeon, donated their extensive collections to the museum, ensuring that the specimens would be available to the public and for research. Lambiris’ bequest represents the fruits of 47 years of intensive collecting and research and comprises 4 177 specimens of amphibians and reptiles.
 
Monadjem’s has donated 51 catalogued specimens belonging to 17 genera and seven families collected from the Nimba region in Liberia, including 24 bat species which will now find a home in the museum’s popular Mammal Collection. Museum Director Allison Ruiters said that for Dr Lambiris to have singled out the museum as a repository his life’s work was a vote of confidence in the museum and the direction it had taken, especially in the past four years since the opening of its Research Centre. “Additionally, Prof Monadjem’s continued links with the museum, as a depository for past, as well as future research activities with rodents and bats, in some of the most remote areas in Africa, speaks volumes for the centre of excellence which has already been created,” Ruiters said.
 
Capital campaign
The museum’s research collections have increased at an an average of 6% a year since 2006, bringing the total number of specimens to just under 363 000. “We will be embarking on a capital campaign in the near future to develop a state-of the- art natural science museum that will build on the success of the current facility.
Given that all facets of our institution revolves around our research collections, our most valuable assets, our plans are to make unique spaces within the museum infrastructure that will enable our visitors to interact with our scientists face-to-face and to be exposed, to some extent, to our collections. “All this will be reinforced by an interactive science centre, based on the life sciences, ensuring that we are a national beacon of environmental sustainability,” Ruiters said.
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