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Rescue of the Museum

Although staffed by a full time technician and overseen by a faculty member, the Museum of Zoology was nearly inactive for about 20 years. This phase was interrupted in 2008 by the arrival of Dr. Ingi Agnarsson. One of his graduate students, Zamira Yusseff, had previously worked on the restoration of the UPR-Mayaguez Museum, and could not bear to see the UPRRP Museum in such a state. Knowing that a real threat existed to close the museum and use the space for a chemisty laboratory, Zamira did not hesitate to begin renovating the facilities. For approximately 2 years, she lead a group of undergraduate students to save the collection, but nearly 3,500 specimens had to be discarded because they had deteriorated. In 2011, with the help of the Department of Biology, we held a zoology awareness activity in the lobby of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, in which students learned about the museum, its collections and all the work that was done on it. We raised over 600 signatures of people who supported us to keep going and avoid the closure of the facility. We followed this up in 2013 by helping to organize and having a big presence at UPRRP's Invasive Species Awareness Week, which was repeated in 2015. Consequently, plans to displace the Museum have been quashed, thanks to the efforts of all the students, staff, and faculty who have dedicated time and effort to not only save it, but to make the Museum a vibrant center for research and education.