Curators

Behind the Scenes of Natural History Museums

Author: Lance Grande

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022638943X

Category: Science

Page: 432

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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.
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The Future of Natural History Museums

Author: Eric Dorfman

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315531879

Category: Social Science

Page: 248

View: 6837

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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.
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Behind the scenes at the Science Museum

Author: Sharon Macdonald

Publisher: Berg Publishers

ISBN: 9781859735718

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 293

View: 2583

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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.
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Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads

The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums

Author: Stephen T. Asma

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780195347463

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 8408

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The natural history museum is a place where the line between "high" and "low" culture effectively vanishes--where our awe of nature, our taste for the bizarre, and our thirst for knowledge all blend happily together. But as Stephen Asma shows in Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads, there is more going on in these great institutions than just smart fun. Asma takes us on a wide-ranging tour of natural history museums in New York and Chicago, London and Paris, interviewing curators, scientists, and exhibit designers, and providing a wealth of fascinating observations. We learn how the first museums were little more than high-toned side shows, with such garish exhibits as the pickled head of Peter the Great's lover. In contrast, today's museums are hot-beds of serious science, funding major research in such fields as anthropology and archaeology. "Rich in detail, lucid explanation, telling anecdotes, and fascinating characters.... Asma has rendered a fascinating and credible account of how natural history museums are conceived and presented. It's the kind of book that will not only engage a wide and diverse readership, but it should, best of all, send them flocking to see how we look at nature and ourselves in those fabulous legacies of the curiosity cabinet."--The Boston Herald.
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Switchbacks

Art, Ownership, and Nuxalk National Identity

Author: Jennifer Kramer

Publisher: UBC Press

ISBN: 0774841303

Category: Art

Page: 168

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Switchbacks explores how the Nuxalk of Bella Coola, British Columbia, negotiate such complex questions as: Who owns culture? How should culture be transmitted to future generations? Where does selling and buying Nuxalk art fit into attempts to regain control of heritage?
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The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections

Author: Nicolas Peterson,Lindy Allen,Louise Hamby

Publisher: Academic Monographs

ISBN: 0522855687

Category: Aboriginal Australians

Page: 596

View: 6171

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This volume of original essays brings together, for the first time, histories of the making and of the makers of most of the major Indigenous Australian museum collections. These collections are a principal source of information on how Aboriginal people lived in the past. Knowing the context in which any collection was created-the intellectual frameworks within which the collectors were working, their collecting practices, what they failed to collect, and what Aboriginal people withheld-is vital to understanding how any collection relates to the Aboriginal society from which it was derived. Once made, collections have had mixed fates: some have become the jewel of a museum's holdings, while others have been divided and dispersed across the world, or retained but neglected. The essays in this volume raise issues about representation, institutional policies, the periodisation of collecting, intellectual history, material culture studies, Aboriginal culture and the idea of a 'collection'.
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A Gathering of Wonders

Behind the Scenes at The American Museum of Natural History

Author: Joseph Wallace

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780312271565

Category: Travel

Page: 288

View: 8091

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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.
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The Future of the Past

Archaeologists, Native Americans and Repatriation

Author: Tamara Bray

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136543597

Category: Social Science

Page: 272

View: 4320

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To date, the notion of repatriation has been formulated as a highly polarized debate with museums, archaeologists, and anthropologists on one side, and Native Americans on the other. This volume offers both a retrospective and a prospective look at the topic of repatriation. By juxtaposing the divergent views of native peoples, anthropologists, museum professionals, and members of the legal profession, it illustrates the complexity of the repatriation issue.
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Curating Archaeological Collections

From the Field to the Repository

Author: Terry S. Childs,Lynne P. Sullivan

Publisher: Rowman Altamira

ISBN: 075911630X

Category: Social Science

Page: 200

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Introduction to curation and preservation of archaeological materials.
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Shivers Down Your Spine

Cinema, Museums, and the Immersive View

Author: Alison Griffiths

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231503466

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 392

View: 5689

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From the architectural spectacle of the medieval cathedral and the romantic sublime of the nineteenth-century panorama to the techno-fetishism of today's London Science Museum, humans have gained a deeper understanding of the natural world through highly illusionistic representations that engender new modes of seeing, listening, and thinking. What unites and defines many of these wondrous spaces is an immersive view-an invitation to step inside the virtual world of the image and become a part of its universe, if only for a short time. Since their inception, museums of science and natural history have mixed education and entertainment, often to incredible, eye-opening effect. Immersive spaces of visual display and modes of exhibition send "shivers" down our spines, engaging the distinct cognitive and embodied mapping skills we bring to spectacular architecture and illusionistic media. They also force us to reconsider traditional models of film spectatorship in the context of a mobile and interactive spectator. Through a series of detailed historical case studies, Alison Griffiths masterfully explores the uncanny and unforgettable visceral power of the medieval cathedral, the panorama, the planetarium, the IMAX theater, and the science museum. Examining these structures as exemplary spaces of immersion and interactivity, Griffiths reveals the sometimes surprising antecedents of modern media forms, suggesting the spectator's deep-seated desire to become immersed in a virtual world. Shivers Down Your Spine demonstrates how immersive and interactive museum display techniques such as large video displays, reconstructed environments, and touch-screen computer interactives have redefined the museum space, fueling the opposition between public and private, science and spectacle, civic and corporate interests, voice and text, and life and death. In her remarkable study of sensual spaces, Griffiths explains why, for centuries, we keep coming back for more.
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