Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/56

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52

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

phatically an active institution, and has never lacked zealous and enthusiastic workers. By an inevitable law of growth, as the museum is active and progressive, it constantly demands more room and greater facilities. Already in the short space of eight years it has twice outgrown its quarters. While the present building is commodious, the needs of the future were kept in mind in both construction and site, so that successive additions can be made until the building forms a quadrangle. When this extension is completed the main divisions of natural history, geology, botany and zoology will each have a floor space equal in extent to that of the present structure. With such a building Springfield's needs for museum facilities will be amply satisfied and the range of work and influence broadened.

And the field for the museum of natural history when conducted with enterprise and wisdom is one that well repays all effort and labor. Much of the best instruction in the public schools, training in observing and reflecting on the facts of nature is well adapted to assist the museum, while the latter institution, rightly used, widens the outlook. A growth in familiarity with the region surrounding the city makes possible profitable holiday rambles and vacation outings for the study of local natural history. There may be developed a love and appreciation of the delights that nature has in store for her students. Such pursuits are antidotes for the cares and perplexities that burden too many lives, so that a more healthful tone will pervade the social life of the community; nature opens her treasures to rich and poor alike, and the fullest indulgence in these joys carries no sorrow with it. In the larger centers well-equipped museums may well serve as training schools and points for the distribution of materials and examples of the best methods of administration. Their influence could be brought to bear on the smaller towns. Such a system with a very moderate expenditure of money would do much to relieve the barrenness and monotony which too often characterize the intellectual and social life of the country town.