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.

Inside the Lost Museum

Author: Steven Lubar
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674983298
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.

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.

The Future of Natural History Museums

Author: Eric Dorfman
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781315531878
Release Date: 2017-10-12
Genre: Social Science

Natural history museums are changing, both because of their own internal development and in response to changes in context. Historically, the aim of collecting from nature was to develop encyclopedic assemblages to satisfy human curiosity and build a basis for taxonomic information. Today, with global biodiversity in rapid decline, there are new reasons to build and maintain collections, while audiences are more diverse, numerous, and technically savvy. Institutions must learn to embrace new technology while retaining the authenticity of their stories and the value placed on their objects. The Future of Natural History Museums begins to develop a cohesive discourse that balances the disparate issues that our institutions will face over the next decades. It disassembles the topic into various key elements and, through commentary and synthesis, explores a cohesive picture of the trajectory of the natural history museum sector. This book contributes to the study of collections, teaching and learning, ethics, and running non-profit businesses and will be of interest to museum and heritage professionals and academics and senior students in Biological Sciences and Museum Studies.

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.

Life on Display

Author: Karen A. Rader
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226079837
Release Date: 2014-10-03
Genre: Science

Rich with archival detail and compelling characters, Life on Display uses the history of biological exhibitions to analyze museums’ shifting roles in twentieth-century American science and society. Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. Cain chronicle profound changes in these exhibitions—and the institutions that housed them—between 1910 and 1990, ultimately offering new perspectives on the history of museums, science, and science education. Rader and Cain explain why science and natural history museums began to welcome new audiences between the 1900s and the 1920s and chronicle the turmoil that resulted from the introduction of new kinds of biological displays. They describe how these displays of life changed dramatically once again in the 1930s and 1940s, as museums negotiated changing, often conflicting interests of scientists, educators, and visitors. The authors then reveal how museum staffs, facing intense public and scientific scrutiny, experimented with wildly different definitions of life science and life science education from the 1950s through the 1980s. The book concludes with a discussion of the influence that corporate sponsorship and blockbuster economics wielded over science and natural history museums in the century’s last decades. A vivid, entertaining study of the ways science and natural history museums shaped and were shaped by understandings of science and public education in the twentieth-century United States, Life on Display will appeal to historians, sociologists, and ethnographers of American science and culture, as well as museum practitioners and general readers.

The Lost Species

Author: Christopher Kemp
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226386355
Release Date: 2017-10-23
Genre: Science

The tiny, lungless Thorius salamander from southern Mexico, thinner than a match and smaller than a quarter. The lushly white-coated Saki, an arboreal monkey from the Brazilian rainforests. The olinguito, a native of the Andes, which looks part mongoose, part teddy bear. These fantastic species are all new to science—at least newly named and identified; but they weren’t discovered in the wild, instead, they were unearthed in the drawers and cavernous basements of natural history museums. As Christopher Kemp reveals in The Lost Species, hiding in the cabinets and storage units of natural history museums is a treasure trove of discovery waiting to happen. With Kemp as our guide, we go spelunking into museum basements, dig through specimen trays, and inspect the drawers and jars of collections, scientific detectives on the hunt for new species. We discover king crabs from 1906, unidentified tarantulas, mislabeled Himalayan landsnails, an unknown rove beetle originally collected by Darwin, and an overlooked squeaker frog, among other curiosities. In each case, these specimens sat quietly for decades—sometimes longer than a century—within the collections of museums, before sharp-eyed scientists understood they were new. Each year, scientists continue to encounter new species in museum collections—a stark reminder that we have named only a fraction of the world’s biodiversity. Sadly, some specimens have waited so long to be named that they are gone from the wild before they were identified, victims of climate change and habitat loss. As Kemp shows, these stories showcase the enduring importance of these very collections. The Lost Species vividly tells these stories of discovery—from the latest information on each creature to the people who collected them and the scientists who finally realized what they had unearthed—and will inspire many a museumgoer to want to peek behind the closed doors and rummage through the archives.

Making the Mummies Dance

Author: Thomas Hoving
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9780671880750
Release Date: 1994-02-15
Genre: Architecture

The former director of the famed New York museum recounts his activities at the art world's pinnacle, from wooing important patrons to battling for acquisitions.

House of Lost Worlds

Author: Richard Conniff
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300211634
Release Date: 2016-04-12
Genre: Business & Economics

A gripping tale of 150 years of scientific adventure, research, and discovery at the Yale Peabody Museum

Curating America

Author: Richard Rabinowitz
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 9781469629513
Release Date: 2016-09-14
Genre: History

How do history museums and historic sites tell the richly diverse stories of the American people? What fascinates us most about American history? To help answer these questions, noted public historian Richard Rabinowitz examines the evolution of public history over the last half-century and highlights the new ways we have come to engage with our past. At the heart of this endeavor is what Rabinowitz calls "storyscapes--landscapes of engagement where individuals actively encounter stories of past lives. As storyscapes, museums become processes of narrative interplay rather than moribund storage bins of strange relics. Storyscapes bring to life even the most obscure people--making their skills of hands and minds "touchable," making their voices heard despite their absence from traditional archives, and making the dilemmas and triumphs of their lives accessible to us today. Rabinowitz's wealth of professional experience--creating over 500 history museums, exhibitions, and educational programs across the nation--shapes and informs the narrative. By weaving insights from learning theory, anthropology and geography, politics and finance, collections and preservation policy, and interpretive media, Rabinowitz reveals how the nation's best museums and historic sites allow visitors to confront their sense of time and place, memories of family and community, and definitions of self and the world while expanding their idea of where they stand in the flow of history.

The Art of Naming

Author: Michael Ohl
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262345927
Release Date: 2018-03-23
Genre: Science

From Tyrannosaurus rex to Heteropoda davidbowie: scientific naming as a joyful and creative act. Tyrannosaurus rex. Homo sapiens. Heteropoda davidbowie. Behind each act of scientific naming is a story. In this entertaining and illuminating book, Michael Ohl considers scientific naming as a joyful and creative act. There are about 1.8 million discovered and named plant and animal species, and millions more still to be discovered. Naming is the necessary next step after discovery; it is through the naming of species that we perceive and understand nature. Ohl explains the process, with examples, anecdotes, and a wildly varied cast of characters. He describes the rules for scientific naming; the vernacular isn't adequate. These rules -- in standard binomial nomenclature, the generic name followed by specific name -- go back to Linnaeus; but they are open to idiosyncrasy and individual expression. A lizard is designated Barbaturex morrisoni (in honor of the Doors' Jim Morrison, the Lizard King); a member of the horsefly family Scaptia beyonceae. Ohl, a specialist in “winged things that sting,” confesses that among the many wasp species he has named is Ampulex dementor, after the dementors in the Harry Potter novels. Scientific names have also been deployed by scientists to insult other scientists, to make political statements, and as expressions of romantic love: “I shall name this beetle after my beloved wife.” The Art of Naming takes us on a surprising and fascinating journey, in the footsteps of the discoverers of species and the authors of names, into the nooks and crannies and drawers and cabinets of museums, and through the natural world of named and not-yet-named species.

Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Author: Evelleen Richards
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226436906
Release Date: 2017-04-27
Genre: History

Sexual selection, or the struggle for mates, was of considerable strategic importance to Darwin s theory of evolution as he first outlined it in the "Origin of Species," and later, in the "Descent of Man," it took on a much wider role. There, Darwin s exhaustive elaboration of sexual selection throughout the animal kingdom was directed to substantiating his view that human racial and sexual differences, not just physical differences but certain mental and moral differences, had evolved primarily through the action of sexual selection. It was the culmination of a lifetime of intellectual effort and commitment. Yet even though he argued its validity with a great array of critics, sexual selection went into abeyance with Darwin s death, not to be revived until late in the twentieth century, and even today it remains a controversial theory. In unfurling the history of sexual selection, Evelleen Richards brings to vivid life Darwin the man, not the myth, and the social and intellectual roots of his theory building."

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.

Museums and Communities

Author: Viv Golding
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 9780857851338
Release Date: 2013-08-01
Genre: Art

This edited volume critically engages with contemporary scholarship on museums and their engagement with the communities they purport to serve and represent. Foregrounding new curatorial strategies, it addresses a significant gap in the available literature, exploring some of the complex issues arising from recent approaches to collaboration between museums and their communities. The book unpacks taken-for-granted notions such as scholarship, community, participation and collaboration, which can gloss over the complexity of identities and lead to tokenistic claims of inclusion by museums. Over sixteen chapters, well-respected authors from the US, Australia and Europe offer a timely critique to address what happens when museums put community-minded principles into practice, challenging readers to move beyond shallow notions of political correctness that ignore vital difference in this contested field. Contributors address a wide range of key issues, asking pertinent questions such as how museums negotiate the complexities of integrating collaboration when the target community is a living, fluid, changeable mass of people with their own agendas and agency. When is engagement real as opposed to symbolic, who benefits from and who drives initiatives? What particular challenges and benefits do artist collaborations bring? Recognising the multiple perspectives of community participants is one thing, but how can museums incorporate this successfully into exhibition practice? Students of museum and cultural studies, practitioners and everyone who cares about museums around the world will find this volume essential reading.