ISU Headlines

Idaho State University appoints Herbert Maschner director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History

Posted March 31, 2011

Idaho State University has announced that anthropology research Professor Herbert Maschner will serve as the permanent director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History.

Maschner, who this spring received the 2011 Idaho Academy of Science Distinguished Scientist Award, has served as interim director since June 2010.

 "The search committee was unanimous that Dr. Maschner should be appointed director," said ISU Provost Gary Olson. "He has brought vision and great energy to the Museum. He's clearly the ideal person for the job."

Herbert Maschner in front of Idaho Museum of Natural HistorySince Maschner took over as interim director, the Idaho Museum of Natural History received full accreditation from the American Association of Museums last August. Maschner credited ISU Provost Gary Olson and former interim director Skip Lohse for their efforts in helping get the IMNH accredited, and said he has tried to capitalize and build on that momentum and finish the process.

"I have truly enjoyed serving as interim director, especially in building on our new accreditation and in seeing the excitement shown by the thousands of visitors who have visited our newly refurbished public gallery," Maschner said. "The museum has a stellar staff and I look forward to working with them in the years to come as we continue to enhance our reputation as one of the premier museums in the Intermountain West."

Other Idaho Museum of Natural History highlights during Maschner's tenure as interim director include:

• In September, the Museum, ISU Informatics Institute and the Canadian Museum of Civilization received a $1 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to bolster efforts to further create an online, interactive, virtual museum of northern animal bones. The title of that grant was "Virtual Zooarchaeology of the Arctic Project (VZAP): Phase II."

In December, the museum reopened its exhibit area with a variety of new and familiar displays, after the exhibits were closed for renovation. The Museum debuted everything from Ice Age animal mounts to an exhibit on how climate change on the Snake River Plain has affected its plant and animal life. The event attracted 500 visitors and since that time the museum has received thousands of visitations from K-12 students and the public.

Administratively, Maschner formed an Executive Committee in the IMNH composed of the curators to provide long-range planning, to find consensus in key areas of management, and to democratize some of the management priorities, especially in regards to budgets. He also formed a Museum Advisory Committee composed of 16 members of the community including legislators, bankers, philanthropists, mayors, business leaders, and community leaders.

Besides his other titles, Maschner is also the director of ISU's Center for Archaeology, Materials, and Applied Spectroscopy, a senior scientist at the ISU Idaho Accelerator Center, associate editor of the Journal of World Prehistory, and an executive director of the Foundation for Archaeological Research and Environmental Studies. In 2006, he was named ISU's Distinguished Researcher.

Maschner's research has been funded by National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the WennerGren Foundation, and local agencies. He has been or is principal investigator or coPI on more than $7.2 million in grants which includes being principal investigator on about $5.19 million from the National Science Foundation on 14 awards.  He has nearly 100 publications.

The Idaho Museum of Natural History is the State of Idaho's official museum for life sciences – the plants, animals, and environments of Idaho; anthropology and archaeology– the indigenous and past peoples and cultures of Idaho; the earth sciences–the paleontology, geology, and landscape history of Idaho; and natural history education.

For more information, call (208) 282-3168 or visit http://imnh.isu.edu/.