Winner, Outstanding Academic Title 2017, Choice Magazine
The nineteenth century witnessed a dramatic shift in the display and dissemination of natural knowledge across Britain and America, from private collections of miscellaneous artifacts and objects to public exhibitions and state-sponsored museums. The science museum as we know it—an institution of expert knowledge built to inform a lay public—was still very much in formation during this dynamic period. Science Museums in Transition provides a nuanced, comparative study of the diverse places and spaces in which science was displayed at a time when science and spectacle were still deeply intertwined; when leading naturalists, curators, and popular showmen were debating both how to display their knowledge and how and whether they should profit from scientific work; and when ideals of nationalism, class politics, and democracy were permeating the museum’s walls.
Contributors examine a constellation of people, spaces, display practices, experiences, and politics that worked not only to define the museum, but to shape public science and scientific knowledge. Taken together, the chapters in this volume span the Atlantic, exploring private and public museums, short and long-term exhibitions, and museums built for entertainment, education, and research, and in turn raise a host of important questions, about expertise, and about who speaks for nature and for history.
About the Author
Bernard Lightman is professor of humanities at York University and current vice president and president-elect (2018–2019) of the History of Science Society. Among his most recent publications are the edited collections Global Spencerism and A Companion to the History of Science. Lightman is also a general coeditor of The Correspondence of John Tyndall.
Table of ContentsContents Preface Acknowledgments Introduction - Carin Berkowitz and Bernard Lightman Part I. Sites of Miscellaneity 1. Science in Regent’s Park: The Colosseum - Bernard Lightman 2. The Permissive Precincts of Barnum’s and Goodrich’s Museums of Miscellaneity: Lessons in Knowing Nature for New Learners - Katherine Pandora Part II. Display and Expertise 3. This Post Mortem Palace: Accommodating the Hunterian Museum - Samuel J. M. M. Alberti 4. Sight and Sites: The National Repository and the Politics of Seeing in Early Nineteenth-Century England - Iwan Rhys Morus Part III. The Scientist-Showman 5. A Lecture on Locust Street: Morton, Tyndall, Pepper, and the Construction of Scientific Reputation - Jeremy Brooker 6. Albert Koch’s Hydrarchos Craze: Credibility, Identity, and Authenticity in Nineteenth-Century Natural History - Lukas Rieppel Part IV. The National Museum 7. “A Nursery of Living Thoughts”: G. Brown Goode’s Vision for a National Museum in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States - Pamela M. Henson 8. Botany Behind Glass: The Vegetable Kingdom on Display at Kew’s Museum of Economic Botany - Caroline Cornish Part V. The Research Museum 9. The Endless Frontier: Joseph Leidy and the Collaborative Work of Natural History in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America - Carin Berkowitz 10. Academic Collections: Teaching and Exhibition on Nineteenth-Century American Campuses - Sally Gregory Kohlstedt Afterword: Steps to the Encyclopedic Museum - John Tresch Notes Selected Bibliography Contributors Index