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Presidential Profile

Presidential Profile

Linda S. Ford

I’ve always loved natural history. In graduate school at the University of Texas at Arlington, my colleagues and I used to work in the collections for fun. It was exciting to be able to figure out a problem or at least document its status. The idea that the result of this work could potentially be utilized by other researchers, both today and in the future, was exhilarating. When I moved to the University of Kansas, I met John E. Simmons, who introduced me to best practices in collections work and to SPNHC. I was intrigued to find a group of like-minded people, who were striving to standardize concepts that I considered fun and to ensure that these standards had lasting and constructive effects on collections. I was converted and proud when John and I published a paper advocating for managers of such collections to be seen as professionals in their own right. After study at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I became the project manager on an NSF project to digitize a natural history collection. At that point my career path was set. I not only love natural history collections, but I learned to believe in museums and feel committed to their mission.

Since joining SPNHC in 1997 and attending my first meeting in 1998 in Edmonton, Canada, the dedication and commitment of the society's members to further its mission has been a constant motivation for my own involvement. It is the understanding that we are all working on something bigger than ourselves and a commitment to do our very best to infuse meaning into the concept of “in perpetuity” that continues to fuel my continued involvement. I’m very honored to do my part in my new role in the Society and look forward to SPNHC continuing to advocate for the improvement and advancement of our treasured collections.

Linda S. Ford is Director of Collections Operations for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. She oversees museum-wide projects and initiatives that encompass the museum's ten research collection departments, including the museum-wide database and IT infrastructure.