New Director Selected for UA Museum of the North
Fossil of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has chosen Patrick Druckenmiller to be the new director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, replacing the recently retired Aldona Jonaitis.
Druckenmiller has worked in the museum field his entire career, more than 30 years. The next logical step was to put his experiences to use in an administrative capacity, he said.
“Even in the face of budget restrictions, the museum has maintained a steady rate of collections growth and research products,” Druckenmiller said. “I want to build on this trend and support new research opportunities, especially for undergraduate and graduate students who increasingly rely on our collections for their studies.”
Druckenmiller also hopes to oversee a renovation of the museum’s flagship exhibit, the Gallery of Alaska, and to find better ways to reach out to Alaska communities.
“I really believe that the more we can do to inform the public about our work and its importance to the university and state as a whole, the easier it will be to find support for our goals,” he said.
Druckenmiller said the museum is a unique institute in Alaska, preserving the most complete archive of the state’s natural and cultural history.
“The museum’s large and growing collections are essential records of who we are,” he said. “We embody the principle that if you don’t know where you have been, then you don’t know where you are going. As a multicollection facility, our different departments work synergistically to address many issues facing our state.”
Druckenmiller has served as earth sciences curator and as a faculty member in the Department of Geosciences since 2007. He is a vertebrate paleontologist with a research emphasis on Mesozoic marine reptiles, particularly plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, and dinosaurs of Alaska. He will continue to serve as the curator of earth sciences at UAMN.
Druckenmiller worked at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, before coming to UAMN. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in Alberta and a master’s degree from Montana State University in Bozeman.