Curators: Behind The Scenes Of Natural History Museums

Hardcover | March 21, 2017

byLance Grande

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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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From the Publisher

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 ...

Lance Grande is the Negaunee Distinguished Service Curator at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, where he conducts research on fishes, paleontology,  and evolutionary biology. He is the author of more than one hundred books and scientific articles, including The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Scenes from Deep Time and Gems and ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 0.98 inPublished:March 21, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022619275X

ISBN - 13:9780226192758

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"Lance Grande has lived his life as a natural museum curator, a profession that emerged in the nineteenth century. His memoir shines a bright light on this profession, its roots, and its place in the twenty-first century. Through the lens of his own experience as an expert on fossil fish, Grande has crafted a narrative that grows, along with his career, to encompass the breadth of Chicago's fabled Field Museum and to argue for the relevance of natural history in our time. Blasting through dusty stereotypes, he passionately shows just how interesting it can be to live the surprisingly splendid life of a curator."