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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

A Martian Stranded on Earth

Author: Nikolai Krementsov
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226454122
Release Date: 2011-07-15
Genre: History

Much like Vladimir Lenin, his onetime rival for the leadership of the Bolshevik party during its formative years, Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928) was a visionary. In two science fiction novels set on Mars, Bogdanov imagined a future in which the workers of the world, liberated from capitalist exploitation, create a “physiological collective” that rejuvenates and unites its members through regular blood exchanges. But Bogdanov was not merely a dreamer. He worked tirelessly to popularize and realize his vision, founding the first research institute devoted to the science of blood transfusion. In A Martian Stranded on Earth, the first broad-based book on Bogdanov in English, Nikolai Krementsov examines Bogdanov’s roles as revolutionary, novelist, and scientist, presenting his protagonist as a coherent thinker who pursued his ideas in a wide range of venues. Through the lens of Bogdanov’s involvement with blood studies on one hand, and of his fictional and philosophical writings on the other, Krementsov offers a nuanced analysis of the interactions between scientific ideas and societal values.

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.


Author: Xiaoming Wang
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231509435
Release Date: 2008-08-04
Genre: Science

Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford have spent the past 20 years studying the evolutionary history of the family Canidae. Both are well known for having established the modern framework for the evolutionary relationship of canids. Combining their research with Mauricio Antón's impeccable reconstructions of both extinct and extant species, Wang and Tedford present a remarkably detailed and nuanced portrait of the origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years. The authors cull their history from the most recent scientific research conducted on the vast collections of the American Museum of Natural History and other leading institutions. The fossil record of the Canidae, particularly those from their birth place in North America, are the strongest of their kind among known groups of carnivorans. Such a wonderfully detailed evolutionary history provides access to a natural history that is not possible with many other groups of carnivorans. With their rich fossil record, diverse adaptations to various environments, and different predatory specializations, canids are an ideal model organism for the mapping of predator behavior and morphological specializations. They also offer an excellent contrast to felids, which remain entrenched in extreme predatory specializations. The innovative illustrated approach in this book is the perfect accompaniment to an extremely important branch of animal and fossil study. It transforms the science of paleontology into a thrilling visual experience and provides an unprecedented reference for anyone fascinated by dogs.

The Return of Curiosity

Author: Nicholas Thomas
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 9781780237039
Release Date: 2016-08-15
Genre: Art

The Spy Museum, the Vacuum Cleaner Museum, the National Mustard Museum—not to mention the Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Getty Center: museums have never been more robust, curating just about everything there is and assuming a new prominence in public life. The Return of Curiosity explores museums in the modern age, offering a fresh perspective on some of our most important cultural institutions and the vital function they serve as stewards of human and natural history. Reflecting on art galleries, science and history institutions, and collections all around the world, Nicholas Thomas argues that, in times marked by incredible insecurity and turbulence, museums help us sustain and enrich society. Moreover, they stimulate us to think in new ways about our world, compelling our curiosity and showing us the importance of understanding one another. Thomas looks at museums not simply as storehouses of old things but as the products of meaningful relationships between curators, the public, history, and culture. These relationships, he shows, don’t always go smoothly, but they do always offer new insights into the many ways we value—and try to preserve—the world we live in. The result is a refreshing and hopeful look at museums as a cultural force, one that, by gathering together paintings, tropical birds, antiques, or even our own bodies, offers an illuminating reflection of who we are.