Maple to Help Shape American Museums and Libraries through National Post
Posted March 11, 2003 | Atlanta
Terry Maple, director of the Center for Conservation and Behavior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is one of 10 new members of the National Museum Service Board sworn in recently by U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.
Professor Maple, the Elizabeth Smithgall-Watts Chair in Behavioral and Animal Conservation for Georgia Tech's School of Psychology, joins the museum board after being nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He continues to raise funds and direct Georgia Tech's new Center for Conservation and Behavior, dedicated to studying animal behavior and how zoos might help endangered species.
In all, there are 15 members of the National Museum Service Board, which advises the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS] and makes recommendations for the National Award for Museum Service, the nation's highest honor for extraordinary public service provided by America's museums.
"The National Museum Services Board takes an active part in championing the role museums play in our society," IMLS Director Robert Martin said. "Together, the board and the institute have the responsibility to place a national spotlight on the outstanding work that America's museums do, and on the enormous contributions they make serving our communities and sustaining our cultural heritage."
The IMLS is an independent federal agency and a primary source of federal grants for the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. Its grants and leadership help museums care for collections, expand public-education programs, partner with community organizations and use new technology. Congress established the National Museum Services Board in 1976. Its members are citizens recognized for their broad knowledge, expertise, or experience in museums or commitment to museums.
Until this past January Maple was president of Zoo Atlanta, a post he had held since his appointment by the mayor of Atlanta in 1984. At that time, prior neglect, mismanagement and lack of funds at the zoo led to the deaths of several animals, the loss of Zoo Atlanta's accreditation from the American Society of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, and the notoriety of being named one of the 10 worst zoos in the country by the Humane Society of the United States.
But, during his tenure, Maple helped turn Zoo Atlanta into one of the nation's finest, attracting national awards and an increase in annual visitors. The year after giant pandas arrived in 1999 the zoo hit an attendance record of 1 million visitors. It also became one of metro Atlanta's top attractions.
Maple remained on Georgia Tech's faculty during his tenure at the zoo, as a psychology professor specializing in animal behavior. He continues his work in that area while he builds the new Center for Conservation and Behavior, said Gary Schuster, dean of Georgia Tech's College of Sciences. Maple will need about $200,000 a year to start the center, Schuster said.
Maple is the founding editor of the professional journal Zoo Biology and is the author and editor of more than 150 scientific publications. He is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a former president of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums.
He received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of the Pacific, and he received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in psychobiology from the University of California at Davis.