Extinct Monsters to Deep Time is an ethnography that documents the growing friction between the research and outreach functions of the museum in the 21st century. Marsh describes participant observation and historical research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as it prepared for its largest-ever exhibit renovation, Deep Time. As a museum ethnography, the book provides a grounded perspective on the inner-workings of the world’s largest natural history museum and the social processes of communicating science to the public.
How did the earth look in prehistoric times? Scientists and artists collaborated during the half-century prior to the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species to produce the first images of dinosaurs and the world they inhabited. Their interpretations, informed by recent fossil discoveries, were the first efforts to represent the prehistoric world based on sources other than the Bible. Martin J. S. Rudwick presents more than a hundred rare illustrations from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to explore the implications of reconstructing a past no one has ever seen.
Does extinction have to be forever? As the global extinction crisis accelerates, conservationists and policy-makers increasingly use advanced biotechnologies such as reproductive cloning, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and bioinformatics in the urgent effort to save species. Mendel's Ark considers the ethical, cultural and social implications of using these tools for wildlife conservation. Drawing upon sources ranging from science to science fiction, it focuses on the stories we tell about extinction and the meanings we ascribe to nature and technology. The use of biotechnology in conservation is redrawing the boundaries between animals and machines, nature and artifacts, and life and death. The new rhetoric and practice of de-extinction will thus have significant repercussions for wilderness and for society. The degree to which we engage collectively with both the prosaic and the fantastic aspects of biotechnological conservation will shape the boundaries and ethics of our desire to restore lost worlds.
Using a series of case studies, the book demonstrates the power of dynamic analysis as applied to the fossil record. The book considers how we think about certain types of paleontological questions and shows how to answer them. The analytical tools presented here will have wide application to other fields of knowledge; as such the book represents a major contribution to the deployment of modern scientific method as it builds on author's previous book, Dynamic Paleontology. Students and seasoned professionals alike will find this book to be of great utility for refining their approach to their ongoing and future research projects.
Identity, Culture, and the Science Performance, Volume 1: From the Lab to the Streets is the first of two volumes dedicated to the diverse sociocultural work of science-oriented performance. A dynamic volume of scholarly essays, interviews with scientists and artists, and creative entries, it examines explicitly public-facing science performances that operate within and for specialist and non-specialist populations. The book's chapters trace the theatrical and ethical contours of live science events, re-enact historical stagings of scientific expertise, and demonstrate the pedagogical and activist potentials in performing science in community settings. Alongside the scholarly chapters, From the Lab to the Streets features creative work by contemporary science-integrative artists and interviews with popular science communicators Sahana Srinivasan (host of Netflix's Brainchild) and Raven Baxter (“Raven the Science Maven”) and artists from performance ensembles The Olimpias and Superhero Clubhouse. In exploring the science performance as a vital but flawed method of public engagement, it offers a critique of the racist, ableist, sexist, and heteronormative ideologies prevalent across the history of science, as well as highlighting science performances that challenge and redress these ideologies. Along with its complementary volume From the Curious to the Quantum, this book documents the varied ways in which identity categories and cultural constructs are formed and reformed through science performances.
Museums flourished in post-apartheid South Africa. In older museums, there were renovations on the go, and at least fifty new museums opened. Most sought to depict violence and suffering under apartheid and the growth of resistance. These unlikely journeys are tracked as museums became a primary setting for contesting histories. From the renowned Robben Island Museum to the almost unknown Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, the author demonstrates how an institution concerned with the conservation of the past is simultaneously a site for changing history.
A tale of some of the most amazing creatures ever to grace this tiny planet—unearth how the science fiction of the Jurassic World franchise inspired the evolution of dinosaur science. It all began in 1993. Jurassic Park was a movie landmark in the development of computer-generated imagery and animatronic visual effects. Jurassic Park became the highest-grossing movie of that year, and the highest-grossing film ever at the time, a record held until the 1997 release of Titanic. The field of dinosaur science has blossomed by leaps and bounds and branched out in recent years, in no small part to this iconic movie series. In The Science of Jurassic World, we experience the amazing story of the birth of the dinosaurs, how they evolved to world dominance, how some became gargantuan in size, how others grew wings and flew, and how the rest of them met an untimely end. Chapters include: How did Jurassic Park transform dinosaur science? Was Dr. Alan Grant’s job a walk in the park? What’s with the giant dinosaur poop? When will we clone dinosaurs? And so much more! Discover how some of cinema’s most incredible creations do justice to the jaw-dropping evolution of these fantastic creatures.
A lavish showcase of paleoartist Jay Matternes's spectacular murals and sketches For half a century, the artwork of Jay Matternes adorned the fossil halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. These treasured Matternes murals documenting mammal evolution over the past 56 million years and dioramas showing dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era are significant works of one of the most influential paleoartists in history. Simultaneously epic in size and scope and minutely detailed, they also provide a window into the study and interpretation of vertebrate paleontology and paleoecology. Visions of Lost Worlds presents these unparalleled works of art, and also includes the sketches and drawings Matternes prepared as he planned the murals. Known for his technical genius and eye for detail, Matternes sketched from skeletons in museum collections and added muscle, skin, and fur to bring mammals and dinosaurs from prehistory to vivid life. This book offers a close look at these works of art, a peek inside the artist's process, and an examination of the works' impact and legacy.
In this remarkable interdisciplinary study, anthropologist Brian Noble traces how dinosaurs and their natural worlds are articulated into being by the action of specimens and humans together. Following the complex exchanges of palaeontologists, museums specialists, film- and media-makers, science fiction writers, and their diverse publics, he witnesses how fossil remains are taken from their partial state and re-composed into astonishingly precise, animated presences within the modern world, with profound political consequences. Articulating Dinosaurs examines the resurrecting of two of the most iconic and gendered of dinosaurs. First Noble traces the emergence of Tyrannosaurus rex (the "king of the tyrant lizards") in the early twentieth-century scientific, literary, and filmic cross-currents associated with the American Museum of Natural History under the direction of palaeontologist and eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn. Then he offers his detailed ethnographic study of the multi-media, model-making, curatorial, and laboratory preparation work behind the Royal Ontario Museum's ground-breaking 1990s exhibit of Maiasaura (the "good mother lizard"). Setting the exhibits at the AMNH and the ROM against each other, Noble is able to place the political natures of T. rex and Maiasaura into high relief and to raise vital questions about how our choices make a difference in what comes to count as "nature." An original and illuminating study of science, culture, and museums, Articulating Dinosaurs is a remarkable look at not just how we visualize the prehistoric past, but how we make it palpable in our everyday lives.
As an historical account of the exchange of “duplicate specimens” between anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institution and museums, collectors, and schools around the world in the late nineteenth century, this book reveals connections between both well-known museums and little-known local institutions, created through the exchange of museum objects. It explores how anthropologists categorized some objects in their collections as “duplicate specimens,” making them potential candidates for exchange. This historical form of what museum professionals would now call deaccessioning considers the intellectual and technical requirement of classifying objects in museums, and suggests that a deeper understanding of past museum practice can inform mission-driven contemporary museum work.
The collection explores new applications of the American Philosophical Society's library materials as scholars seek to partner on collaborative projects, often through the application of digital technologies, that assist ongoing efforts at cultural and linguistic revitalization movements within Native communities.