A leading Italian academic forum has highlighted the sorry state of Italian natural history museums. They are facing a critical situation, due to the progressive loss of scientific relevance, decreasing economic investments, and scarcity of personnel. This is extremely alarming, especially for ensuring the long-term preservation of the precious collections they host. Moreover, a commitment in fieldwork to increase scientific collections and concurrent taxonomic research are rarely considered priorities, while most of the activities are addressed to public events with political payoffs, such as exhibits, didactic meetings, expositions, and talks. This is possibly due to the absence of a national museum that would have better steered research activities and overall concepts for collection management. We here propose that Italian natural history museums collaborate to instate a “metamuseum”, by establishing a reciprocal interaction network aimed at sharing budgetary and technical resources, which would assure better coordination of common long-term goals and scientific activities.
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With thanks to Helen Blanc-Francard for alerting us to this.