Curators

Author: Lance Grande
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226389431
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: Science

Over the centuries, natural history museums have evolved from being little more than musty repositories of stuffed animals and pinned bugs, to being crucial generators of new scientific knowledge. They have also become vibrant educational centers, full of engaging exhibits that share those discoveries with students and an enthusiastic general public. At the heart of it all from the very start have been curators. Yet after three decades as a natural history curator, Lance Grande found that he still had to explain to people what he does. This book is the answer—and, oh, what an answer it is: lively, exciting, up-to-date, it offers a portrait of curators and their research like none we’ve seen, one that conveys the intellectual excitement and the educational and social value of curation. Grande uses the personal story of his own career—most of it spent at Chicago’s storied Field Museum—to structure his account as he explores the value of research and collections, the importance of public engagement, changing ecological and ethical considerations, and the impact of rapidly improving technology. Throughout, we are guided by Grande’s keen sense of mission, of a job where the why is always as important as the what. This beautifully written and richly illustrated book is a clear-eyed but loving account of natural history museums, their curators, and their ever-expanding roles in the twenty-first century.

Curators

Author: Lance Grande
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226192758
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Natural history museums have evolved from being little more than musty repositories of stuffed animals and pinned bugs, to being crucial generators of new scientific knowledge. They have also become vibrant educational centers, full of engaging exhibits that share those discoveries with students and an enthusiastic general public. Grande offers a portrait of curators and their research, conveying the intellectual excitement and the educational and social value of curation. He uses the personal story of his own career-- most of it spent at Chicago's Field Museum-- to explore the value of research and collections, the importance of public engagement, changing ecological and ethical considerations, and the impact of rapidly improving technology.

Dry Storeroom No 1

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Vintage Books USA
ISBN: 9780307275523
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Nature

Reveals the hidden treasures of London's Natural History Museum and the people, research, and passions that created the museum, in a study of the social history of the scientific accomplishments of the past two centuries.

Windows on Nature

Author: Stephen Christopher Quinn
Publisher: Harry N Abrams Incorporated
ISBN: UOM:39076002613268
Release Date: 2006-04-01
Genre: Nature

Provides photographic studies of the habitat dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History, giving an inside view of these exhibits, their creation, and the experts and artists who created them.

Inside the Lost Museum

Author: Steven Lubar
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674971042
Release Date: 2017-08-07
Genre: Art

Museum lovers know that energy and mystery run through every exhibition. Steven Lubar explains work behind the scenes—collecting, preserving, displaying, and using art and artifacts in teaching, research, and community-building—through historical and contemporary examples, especially the lost but reimagined Jenks Museum at Brown University.

Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits

Author: Chip Colwell
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226298993
Release Date: 2017-03-08
Genre: Art

Introduction -- Resistance: war gods -- Only after night fall -- Keepers of the sky -- Magic relief -- Tribal resolution -- All things will eat themselves up -- This far away -- Regret: a scalp from Sand Creek -- I have come to kill Indians -- The Bones Bill -- We are going back home -- Indian trophies -- Ac.35b -- A wound of the soul -- Reluctance: killer whale flotilla robe -- Masterless things -- Chief Shakes -- Johnson v. Chilkat Indian Village -- Cranes' last stand -- The weight was heavy -- Our culture is not dying -- Respect: Calusa skulls -- The hardest cases -- Long since completely disappeared -- Unidentifiable -- Their place of understanding -- Timeless limbo -- Before we just gave up -- Conclusion

Behind the scenes at the Science Museum

Author: Sharon Macdonald
Publisher: Berg Publishers
ISBN: 1859735711
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

What goes on behind closed doors at museums? How are decisions about exhibitions made and who, or what, really makes them? Why are certain objects and styles of display chosen whilst others are rejected, and what factors influence how museum exhibitions are produced and experienced? This book answers these searching questions by giving a privileged look ‘behind the scenes’ at the Science Museum in London. By tracking the history of a particular exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the world of the museum curator and shows in vivid detail how exhibitions are created and how public culture is produced. She reveals why exhibitions do not always reflect their makers’ original intentions and why visitors take home particular interpretations. Beyond this ‘local’ context, however, the book also provides broad and far-reaching insights into how national and global political shifts influence the creation of public knowledge through exhibitions.

Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Author: Evelleen Richards
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226437064
Release Date: 2017-04-27
Genre: Science

Darwin’s concept of natural selection has been exhaustively studied, but his secondary evolutionary principle of sexual selection remains largely unexplored and misunderstood. Yet sexual selection was of great strategic importance to Darwin because it explained things that natural selection could not and offered a naturalistic, as opposed to divine, account of beauty and its perception. Only now, with Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection, do we have a comprehensive and meticulously researched account of Darwin’s path to its formulation—one that shows the man, rather than the myth, and examines both the social and intellectual roots of Darwin’s theory. Drawing on the minutiae of his unpublished notes, annotations in his personal library, and his extensive correspondence, Evelleen Richards offers a richly detailed, multilayered history. Her fine-grained analysis comprehends the extraordinarily wide range of Darwin’s sources and disentangles the complexity of theory, practice, and analogy that went into the making of sexual selection. Richards deftly explores the narrative strands of this history and vividly brings to life the chief characters involved. A true milestone in the history of science, Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection illuminates the social and cultural contingencies of the shaping of an important—if controversial—biological concept that is back in play in current evolutionary theory.

Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads

Author: Stephen T. Asma
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195163362
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Science

In countless exhibits, for instance, the idea of the traditional human and nuclear family is evident in displays of everything from extinct animals to grizzly bears (in nature, alas, the male bear is more likely to devour its young than to nurture them)." "Where else but at a natural history museum could you find a T. rex, a high-tech planetarium, a Native American totem pole, and flesh-eating beetles - all under one roof. And in Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads, Stephen Asma reveals that what we don't see - the scientific research that is going on backstage - is just as fascinating as the exhibits on display."--Jacket.

Cannibalism

Author: Bill Schutt
Publisher: Algonquin Books
ISBN: 9781616206550
Release Date: 2017-02-14
Genre: Science

“A masterful and compulsively readable book that challenges our preconceived notions about a behavior often sensationalized in our culture and, until just recently, misunderstood in the scientific world.” —Ian Tattersall, Curator Emeritus, American Museum of Natural History, and author of The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism--the role it plays in evolution as well as human history--is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we’ve come to accept as fact. In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History,zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism’s role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party--the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti). Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neanderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species--including our own. Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.

Shaping Science with Rhetoric

Author: Leah Ceccarelli
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226099067
Release Date: 2001-07-01
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

How do scientists persuade colleagues from diverse fields to cross the disciplinary divide, risking their careers in new interdisciplinary research programs? Why do some attempts to inspire such research win widespread acclaim and support, while others do not? In Shaping Science with Rhetoric, Leah Ceccarelli addresses such questions through close readings of three scientific monographs in their historical contexts—Theodosius Dobzhansky's Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937), which inspired the "modern synthesis" of evolutionary biology; Erwin Schrödinger's What Is Life? (1944), which catalyzed the field of molecular biology; and Edward O. Wilson's Consilience (1998), a so far not entirely successful attempt to unite the social and biological sciences. She examines the rhetorical strategies used in each book and evaluates which worked best, based on the reviews and scientific papers that followed in their wake. Ceccarelli's work will be important for anyone interested in how interdisciplinary fields are formed, from historians and rhetoricians of science to scientists themselves.

Ancient Denvers

Author: Kirk Johnson
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
ISBN: 9781555915544
Release Date: 2006
Genre: History

A look at how the geology, environment, and landscape of what is now Denver has changed over the millennia.

Bibliography of Natural History Travel Narratives

Author: Anne S. Troelstra
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9789004343788
Release Date: 2017-01-17
Genre: Reference

With this book Troelstra gives us a superb overview of natural history travel narratives. The well over four thousand detailed entries, ranging over four centuries and all major western European languages, are drawn from a wide range of sources and include both printed books and periodical contributions.

Immersion

Author: Abbie Gascho Landis
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 9781610918084
Release Date: 2017-04-13
Genre: Nature

Abbie Gascho Landis first fell for freshwater mussels while submerged in an Alabama creek, her pregnant belly squeezed into a wetsuit. After an hour of fruitless scanning, a mussel materialized from the rocks—a little spectaclecase, herself pregnant, filtering the river water through a delicate body while her gills bulged with offspring. In that moment of connection, Landis became a mussel groupie, obsessed with learning more about the creatures' hidden lives. She isn't the only fanatic; the shy mollusks, so vital to the health of rivers around the world, have a way of inspiring unusual devotion. In Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels, Landis brings readers to a hotbed of mussel diversity, the American Southeast, to seek mussels where they eat, procreate, and, too often, perish. Accompanied often by her husband, a mussel scientist, and her young children, she learned to see mussels on the creekbed, to tell a spectaclecase from a pigtoe, and to worry what vanishing mussels—70 percent of North American species are imperiled—will mean for humans and wildlife alike. In Immersion, Landis shares this journey, traveling from perilous river surveys to dry streambeds and into laboratories where endangered mussels are raised one precious life at a time. Mussels have much to teach us about the health of our watersheds if we step into the creek and take a closer look at their lives. In the tradition of writers like Terry Tempest Williams and Sy Montgomery, Landis gracefully chronicles these untold stories with a veterinarian's careful eye and the curiosity of a naturalist. In turns joyful and sobering, Immersion is an invitation to see rivers from a mussel's perspective, a celebration of the wild lives visible to those who learn to search.

A Gathering of Wonders

Author: Joseph Wallace
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9780312271565
Release Date: 2000-06-10
Genre: Travel

Since it was founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History has stood as one of the world's greatest repositories of scientific information and investigation. This delightful book takes us behind the exhibits and shows us some of the great researchers and fabulous objects from the Museum's past and present, ranging through every department and focusing on fabulous tales and fascinating objects, both small and large, including: * the famous Oviraptor eggs unearthed in the Gobi desert. * the stunning new Hall of Biodiversity, whose trees hold 411,000 model leaves * the 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 632-carat Patricia emerald * Katharine Burden's hunt for the Komodo dragon : "Women Huntress Revolts Against Playing Safe---Kills Huge 'Malay Dragon' " * the epic saga of the huge blue whale model This book offers a backstage tour through the halls and history of the Museum, venturing into ornithology, invertebrates, zoology, entomology, herpetology, and other disciplines, celebrating the treasures and the scientists responsible for bringing them to the light of day. Museum-goers will find their enjoyment enhanced by the wonderful anecdotes and insights, and armchair travelers will find the back-scenes tour enriching and enlightening.