Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums

Paperback | May 15, 2003

byStephen T. Asma

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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 moregoing 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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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 moregoing on in these great institutions than j...

Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Columbia College, in Chicago. He has written articles on a broad range of topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including pieces in Chronicle of Higher Education and The Humanist, and he is a regular contributor to Skeptic Magazine. The author of ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:May 15, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195163362

ISBN - 13:9780195163360

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historyh Asma's Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads surveys the presence and evolution of natural history museums around the world interviewing curators, scientists and exhibit designers and providing many observations of the history of these museums and how their contents and approaches haveevolved. The result is an excellent and intriguing survey of the evolution of natural history collections."--The Bookwatch