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October / November 2001

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UMaine Today Magazine

University of Maine Foundation

Emerick endowment honors vision of Hudson Museum founder

Richard Emerick
Richard Emerick, Iglulik Island, Northern Foxe Basin, Northwest Territory
Canada, 1953

Photo courtesy of the Hudson Museum

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For more than four decades, Richard Emerick has helped young people understand the world around them. Initially they were University of Maine students enrolled in the University's first introductory course in anthropology. Through the years, children of all ages benefited from his commitment to creating an anthropology museum.

He did it, he says, to reach them.

"The Hudson Museum is where more than 76,000 people come to visit each year, including 3,500 school children and 900 UMaine students," Emerick says. "The museum is the place where the people of Maine can see and touch the wonder and the splendor of the human experience things people of the world have made, used, loved and held in awe, and proudly left for us to gently care for and gratefully learn from."

Emerick spent his academic career at UMaine. What began as a classroom display of his ethnographic collections from the Arctic, Oceania and the American Southwest grew by 1964 to be an anthropology museum on the third floor of South Stevens Hall. With construction of the Maine Center for the Arts in 1986, the Hudson Museum became a reality.

Last year, in recognition of the vision and contributions of the museum's founding director, the Hudson Museum Advisory Board established the Richard Emerick Endowment Fund at the University of Maine Foundation. The endowment fund has a $1 million goal, with $16,600 raised to date. It is the largest endowment established on behalf of the museum.

"Such a fund is an important step in our growth as a professional museum," says Hudson Museum Director Stephen Whittington. "Museums everywhere have created endowments to support programs and exhibits, and to allow more flexibility in public offerings. The ultimate goal is to create a stable source of reliable income year after year."

Emerick retired from the University in 1991, ending a nearly 40-year teaching career in the classroom, but not in the world around him.


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