By Chris Powers
SC Staff Writer
East Stroudsburg University finished building the Schisler Museum in the basement of the Science and Technology center last year.
The museum was composed of animal mounts donated to the university from a private collection, an extensive bug collection from ESU’s entomology department, and a large freshwater fish tank.
This summer, ESU hired Ed Mooney to manage the collections and serve as museum curator.
Mooney graduated from the Tyler School of Arts at Temple University with a BA in Fine Arts, Seton Hall University with an MA in Museum Professions, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with his MFA in Exhibition Planning and Design.
Mooney has a great deal of experience and has worked in some capacity for museums for fifteen years.
Mooney said he “got involved with museum work shortly after undergrad. My first job was with the Philadelphia Insectarium.”
Mooney has also worked at the National Canal Museum in Easton, Penn museum in Philadelphia, and the DaVinci Science Center, also in Philadelphia.
Mooney also noted that in addition to his day-to-day job as a curator, he does “design and consultant work for a lot of different clients, such as New Bedford Whale Museum, Chopin’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, and the Mutter Museum.”
As curator for ESU, Mooney has a wide variety of responsibilities — which include managing the museum and specific exhibits.
As part of his job, Mooney also manages ESU’s planetarium, located next to the museum in the basement of the Science and Technology building.
Previously, Dr. Buckley of the physics department handled the management of the planetarium, along with presenting all of the planetarium shows.
According to Mooney, “Dr. Buckley still does the bulk of the presentations, especially the more intensive lessons, and the planetarium is still used for ESU classes. I handle some of the other programs as well, with booking arrangements and things like that.”
Dr. Buckley seemed pleased with Mooney’s work as his replacement saying, “He’s doing a wonderful job and we were really fortunate to get someone with a lot of experience in a museum environment.”
Mooney has plans for the coming semesters. For example, admission will now be charged for access to the museum and planetarium.
ESU students will still be able to access them for free, so the fee will only apply to special programs and outside group programs.
Mooney said, “We are moving towards having general public hours on the weekends. We charge $6 for adults and $4 for children.”
“We have a lot of wonderful things in the museum that we are telling you to look at and not touch. We really want to embellish what we have here with things that you can touch,” he continued.
This would involve interactive exhibits such as live animals, animal bones and furs, or even an ESU professor-driven lecture series.
Currently, Mooney mentioned, “What we are working on now is how do we open for the general public, which involves setting up a system to collect admissions, a membership system, signage for guiding people who have never been to campus to the museum, as well as advertising and promotion strategies.”
Mooney also added, “We have this wonderful museum, we have these wonderful collections — what can we do to leverage this further — and I think a lot of that is going to be the special programs.”
Before Mooney’s arrival, the museum was largely only used as a supplement to classes offered at ESU — specifically science lectures and labs.
However, there has been discussion on using the museum for art class purposes and as a tool for education students for curriculum development, in addition to the sciences.
The community reaction to Mooney as the curator has been very positive so far and under his management the museum is expected to become very successful.
According to Dr. Hunt, biology professor at ESU, “He is doing a terrific job, he is very well organized, and it is clear he knows what he is doing and how to get there.”
Mooney’s largest goal is to update the mission of the museum, which is “to inspire wonder, exploration, understanding, and stewardship about the natural world.”
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