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Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

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Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

Longueur:
536 pages
6 heures
Sortie:
Feb 18, 2019
ISBN:
9781789201239
Format:
Livre

Description

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.

Sortie:
Feb 18, 2019
ISBN:
9781789201239
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Diana E. Marsh is a research anthropologist and museum practitioner who studies how heritage institutions communicate with the public. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where she is working to increase the accessibility of archival collections.

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Extinct Monsters to Deep Time - Diana E. Marsh

Extinct Monsters to Deep Time

Museums and Collections

Editors

Mary Bouquet, University College Utrecht

Howard Morphy, The Australian National University, Canberra

As houses of memory and sources of information about the world, museums function as a dynamic interface between past, present, and future. Museum collections are increasingly being recognized as material archives of human creativity and as invaluable resources for interdisciplinary research. Museums provide powerful forums for the expression of ideas and are central to the production of public culture: they may inspire the imagination, generate heated emotions, and express conflicting values in their material form and histories. This series explores the potential of museum collections to transform our knowledge of the world, and for exhibitions to influence the way in which we view and inhabit that world. It offers essential reading for those involved in all aspects of the museum sphere: curators, researchers, collectors, students, and the visiting public.

VOLUME 1. The Future of Indigenous Museums: Perspectives from the Southwest Pacific

Edited by Nick Stanley

VOLUME 2. The Long Way Home: The Meaning and Values of Repatriation

Edited by Paul Turnbull and Michael Pickering

VOLUME 3. The Lives of Chinese Objects: Buddhism, Imperialism and Display

Louise Tythacott

VOLUME 4. Colonial Collecting and Display: Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Claire Wintle

VOLUME 5. Borders of Belonging: Experiencing History, War and Nation at a Danish Heritage Site

Mads Daugbjerg

VOLUME 6. Exhibiting Europe in Museums: Transnational Networks, Collections, Narratives, and Representations

Wolfram Kaiser, Stefan Krankenhagen, and Kerstin Poehls

VOLUME 7. The Enemy on Display: The Second World War in Eastern European Museums

Zuzanna Bogumił, Joanna Wawrzyniak, Tim Buchen, Christian Ganzer, and Maria Senina

VOLUME 8. Museum Websites and Social Media: Issues of Participation, Sustainability, Trust, and Diversity

Ana Luisa Sánchez Laws

VOLUME 9. Visitors to the House of Memory: Identity and Political Education at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Victoria Bishop Kendzia

VOLUME 10. The Witness as Object: Video Testimony in Memorial Museums

Steffi de Jong

VOLUME 11. Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian’s Fossil Halls

Diana E. Marsh

Extinct Monsters to Deep Time

Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian’s Fossil Halls

DIANA E. MARSH

First published in 2019 by

Berghahn Books

www.berghahnbooks.com

© 2019 Diana E. Marsh

All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission of the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

A C.I.P. cataloging record is available from the Library of Congress

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-1-78920-122-2 hardback

ISBN 978-1-78920-123-9 ebook

To my parents, for taking me to the museum.

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations and Tables

Foreword

Jennifer Shannon

Prologue. Fieldnotes from the Badlands

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Chronology A. Lists of Relevant Leadership

Chronology B. Geologic Time Scale

Chronology C. Fossil Exhibits Timeline

Introduction

Chapter 1. Increase and Diffusion: Early Fossil Exhibits and a History of Institutional Culture

Chapter 2. Group Dynamics: Exhibit Meetings and Expertise

Chapter 3. Group Dynamics: The Roots of Team Frictions and Complementarities

Chapter 4. Content Development: Debates about Interconnected Processes and Static Things

Chapter 5. Content Development: The Roots of Interpretive Frictions and Complementarities

Chapter 6. Diffusion and Increase: Shifts in Institutional Culture from Modernization to Now

Chapter 7. Conclusion

Chapter 8. Coda: The Nation’s T. rex

Appendix A. Consent Form

Appendix B. Interview Questionnaires

Sample Team Interview Questionnaire

Sample Oral History Interview Questionnaire

Bibliography

Index

ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES

Illustrations

Figure 0.1. The team at the K/Pg boundary, Hell Creek Formation, July 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 0.2. The team hikes across the badlands, July 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 0.3. Geologic time scale. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS.

Figure 0.4. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, September 2012. Photo by the author.

Figure 0.5. Map of the Natural History Building first floor, 1936, altered to show current numbering for halls 2–6. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2009-4096.

Figure 0.6. Deep Time exhibit timeline. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 1.1. Comparative Osteology Hall with Basilosaurus Cast, U.S. National Museum (now Arts and Industries Building), 1896. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # NHB-9469.

Figure 1.2. Cyanotype of the Vertebrate Fossil Hall, ca. 1913. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # 2005-3000.

Figure 1.3. Diplodocus under construction, ca. 1930. Image 31024. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 1.4. Fossil crinoids, Springer Collection, ca. 1920. Image 30543. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 1.5. Top view of the Stegosaurus display. Image 29895. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 1.6. Norman Boss and public onlookers at the Texas Centennial Exposition, 1936. Image 32697-e. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 2.1. Exhibits hallway, May 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 2.2. Paleobiology hallway, July 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 2.3. The director’s hallway, November 2013. Photo by the author.

Figures 2.4a and b. Chairs of Paleobiology in the Cooper Room, 2013. Photos by the author.

Figure 2.5. Exhibit meeting in 71A, 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 2.6. Angela Roberts Reeder describing hierarchies of exhibit text, April 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 2.7. Exhibit Team meeting including R+P, additional Exhibits staff, and a guest media group, June 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 2.8. Exhibits staff organizational chart, June 2013. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 2.9. Deep Time roles draft diagram, December 2013. Drawing courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 2.10. Exhibit meeting with Deep Time Temporary and Core Exhibit Teams and Sant Director Kirk Johnson, May 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 3.1. Ian G. Macintyre, Eugene Behlen (standing), Kenneth Towe, Daniel Appleman, Sue Voss, and Elizabeth Hilkert (all seated), Francis Hueber on the right, Richard Molinaroli at very back (blocked by Hueber), ca. 1981. Image 81-1709. Photo by C. Clark. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits and Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 3.2. Leo Hickey memo to Exhibits committee, 1979. Personal Records of Ian G. Macintyre, Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.1. De11ep Time content matrix, September 2013. Courtesy of Matthew Carrano, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.2. Draft bubble diagram, January 2013. Drawing by Fang-Pin Lee, Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.3. Spectrum of Exhibit Types, February 2013. Drawing by Fang-Pin Lee, Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.4. Ribbon Explorations, May 2013. Drawing by Fang-Pin Lee, Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.5. TPS units, June 2013. Drawing by Richard Lewis Media Group. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.6. Team watches kids testing the App Shaker immersive screen, April 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 4.7. Final 10% content diagram, April 2013. Drawing by Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.8. Final 10% floor plan, April 2013. Drawing by Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 4.9. Final 10% rendering, Halls 2–5, April 2013. Drawing by Reich + Petch. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.1. Dinosaurs and Other Fossil Reptiles, ca. 1963. Image 1155-D. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.2. Map of the fossil halls, 1963. Image 1139. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.3. Exhibit windows in the Hall of Fossil Fishes and Amphibians, 1961. Image 736-G. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.4. Pre-modernization humerus label, ca. 1958. Image 50701. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.5. Post-modernization humerus label, ca. 1963. Image 1151. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.6. Deaton and Matternes Cretaceous ecosystem diorama, ca. 1963. Image 2526. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.7. Brontothere and Oligocene mammals mural (completed 1962), late 1970s. IMG 90-9513. Photo by C. Clark. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits and Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figures 5.8a and b. Triceratops and model, ca. 1913. Image 28151. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Moropus and model (installed, ca. 1961), late 1970s. Image 80-6062. Photo by C. Clark. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits and Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.9. Dire wolves and horse with storyboard backdrop and piano-string barrier, ca. 1967. Image Labrea.tif. Courtesy of the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.10. Nearly completed fossil hall with Gurche’s Tower of Time, 1981. Image 81-14689. Photo by C. Clark. Courtesy of the Office of Exhibits and Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Figure 5.11. Fossil Lab draft plans, ca. 1986. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2018-078926.

Figure 5.12. Dinosaurs: Reptiles—Masters of Land, April 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 5.13. 3D scanning Hall 6, April 2013. Photo by the author.

Figure 6.1. Virginia schoolchildren on the Mall, 1950. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2009-2125.

Figure 6.2. O’Reilly’s draft drawing for the new Division of Public Programs, ca. 1986. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2018-072684.

Figure 6.3. Dual science and public programming strategy in the NMNH Management Agenda, 1987. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image # SIA2018-078946.

Figure 7.1. The Finger of Blame, Benjamin Lawless Drawing, Bob Post Collection.

Figure 8.1. Entrance to the National Museum of Natural History from the third-floor balcony, 15 April 2014, 8:50 AM. Photo by the author.

Tables

Table 0.1. Hell Creek Collecting Trip Roster.

Table 3.1. Director’s Committee for Exhibits at the NMNH.

Table 3.2. Curatorial Staff by Exhibit Highlight for the Paleontology Hall, ca. 1978.

FOREWORD

Jennifer Shannon

EXTINCT MONSTERS TO DEEP TIME IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF ETHNOGRAPHY we need right now. In 2016 the Oxford Dictionary announced post-truth as its word of the year—it is defined as relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Taken together with the current political discourse around attacks on science and the role of museums as trusted sources for public education, Dr. Marsh’s behind-the-scenes attention to how science is produced for the public is timely, and it highlights the potential of museums and their growing emphasis on public outreach.

In this book, Marsh provides in-depth analysis of the communication of science in one of the most trusted institutions in the United States: the Smithsonian Institution. The history of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is the history of science in America, and Marsh has chosen to view this history through its presentation of fossils and dinosaurs—the quintessential natural history museum objects. There is a real public fascination with dinosaurs—lots of people, especially kids, love them. They seem like pure fiction in scale and time, and yet the physical evidence of their existence in museums assures us: they are real.

While the fossils, the evidence, have stayed the same, how they have been interpreted has changed over time according to new scientific discoveries and new ways of thinking about museums and how they should engage the public. To take on the reinterpretation of this beloved subject, in the most visited natural history museum in the world, is a big responsibility and a risk. Marsh both documents this history of change over time and brings us all into the room with museum staff as they grapple with that responsibility.

Through the example of the Deep Time team, Marsh reminds us that exhibitions are not made by the museum, but rather they are a result of many decisions made by its staff. She invites us to see their work in motion, to sit beside them in meetings, to understand how and why the exhibition ends up looking the way it does. Marsh combines this sense of being there with extensive archival work to help us see how this new exhibition illuminates and is shaped by larger histories of paleontology and museums. As such, this book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of the history of the Smithsonian Institution, the representation of paleontology, the changing dynamics of museum departments and disciplines over time, and the shift in museums from an emphasis on research to public outreach. It is also an important contribution to the genre of museum ethnography.

Museums have proliferated in the last twenty years and are increasingly of interest to scholars as objects of study. While anthropology is a department within the natural history museum, its central questions and primary methodology—ethnography—can be applied to the museum, as well. Museum ethnography is an approach to studying museums that emphasizes that they are institutions of power; that they shape public understanding and reflect dominant paradigms; that the process of knowledge production should be examined in everyday social practice; and that ethnographic methods and anthropological attention to the everyday is a much-needed perspective in understanding the history, representation, and production of science.

I know firsthand that it is not often easy or possible to enter into powerful institutions, into meetings and workspaces, to gain and maintain trust with colleagues who are also research participants, and report on behind-the-scenes work for such high-profile and public undertakings. So much is at stake for the institution and its staff. And so much is at stake for the researcher as well—her relationships with colleagues, her career. This book is a testament to Marsh’s hard work and the mutual respect between her and museum staff. In fact, after she earned her doctorate upon which this book is based, she was appointed to a three-year research associate position at the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Heritage. More recently, Marsh was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship in the National Anthropological Archives, located within the National Museum of Natural History that just a few years before was her fieldsite. This ongoing relationship with the Smithsonian and its staff attests to her ethical practice, her professionalism, and, frankly, her sense of humor. She is not only eminently competent but fun too. I am happy to report that, in the process of communicating her own experience while embedded with the Deep Time exhibition team, Marsh’s wit and sense of humor come through to the reader in moments of bureaucratically induced exasperation.

The benefit of ethnography is that we document the questioning, debates, compromises, challenges, and eureka moments as they happen and situate them in wider cultural, political, and historical contexts. Marsh has two main insights that emerge from this approach: first, that disciplinary friction can be creatively productive; and, second, that this case represents a larger trend, a major paradigm shift in museums from a focus on research to public outreach. In addition, Marsh charts the ascendance of team-based knowledge production and how it operates. Her illustration of how creativity can be fostered through the frictions that arise when different kinds of knowledge come together in teamwork suggests insights that will surely move beyond the museum.

Marsh has come to these conclusions from the perspective of both scholar and practitioner—of both writing about and practicing museum curation. She has published articles about archives and digital heritage, curated two exhibitions at the American Philosophical Society Museum, and served on the board of the American Anthropological Association’s Council for Museum Anthropology. I had the pleasure of serving on the board with Marsh, and she and I have been in conversation for years about this project, from her fieldwork days to her final manuscript. I am delighted to see another museum ethnography published and that Marsh’s intellect and voice will travel widely through this work. Her account illustrates the broad appeal and meaningful contributions of museum anthropology beyond our discipline, and I look forward to her continuing contributions to, and on behalf of, our field. In short, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Marsh’s first book.

—Jennifer Shannon, May 2018

Jennifer Shannon is the author of Our Lives: Collaboration, Native Voice, and the Making of the National Museum of the American Indian (SAR Press, 2014), and Curator and Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at University of Colorado—Boulder.

PROLOGUE

Fieldnotes from the Badlands

IN THE SUMMER OF 2013, I SPENT A WEEK WITH A TEAM OF SMITHSONIAN staff in North Dakota (table 0.1). As an anthropologist and documentarian for the trip, I went as part of the Deep Time project, the largest exhibition project in the annals of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Below are fieldnote excerpts from the trip.

Table 0.1. Hell Creek Collecting Trip Roster.

Figure 0.1. The team at the K/Pg boundary, Hell Creek Formation, July 2013. Photo by the author.

Day 1

It’s July in North Dakota. Twenty people—sweaty, dusty, and carrying backpacks and Ziploc bags full of microfossils—gather in a circle between two Chevy Suburbans, just before sunset. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) opens a cooler and begins passing out cans of cold beer. The sun, sitting low on the vast horizon, casts a warm glow on the group; the field team members exchange accounts of the day and play show-and-tell. Those who have been to the field before recount past glories … and embarrassments. Exhausted but exhilarated, I jot down notes in my red Moleskine and snap a few pictures before taking a much-anticipated sip of ice-cold beer.

Day 2

On the way to our first fieldsite, we pass through the same vast landscape dotted with oil grasshoppers (the piston pumps over oil wells) …

We hike out about five minutes up and between two ridges. Scott Wing and Kirk Johnson have identified a fossilized palm. Scott asks the group whether it looks like something visitors would recognize, and Amy Bolton suggests that it might be good for Q?rius, the museum’s new education center. Tyler Lyson and Scott start piecing the fossil together. Scott reiterates that it’s something that could be good for the exhibit. Siobhan Starrs chimes in that it could be touchable. Amy notes that the museum could let visitors try to piece it back together. Scott pulls out his notebook and marks the GPS coordinates.

The nonscience/novice crew (of which I am very much a part) then walks around and ducks under a fence to head back down the road the way we came …

Back in Marmarth we feast on chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, bread and butter. The table is oddly quiet—everyone’s hungry and exhausted. After dinner we take turns showering. That night at the town’s only bar, the Pastime, which Kirk calls the "Star Wars bar, we pick songs on the jukebox and drink beer. Scott strolls in a bit later than others, glowing with energy, and proclaims There’s nothing more fun than finding fossils." Angela Roberts Reeder groans and counters that, actually, she can think of many things that are more fun.

Day 4

There are microfossils everywhere. The group enjoys the instant gratification this kind of work can offer. Hans Sues agrees that this is why he enjoys it. Kirk jokes that even he could be interested in the site for half an hour (even though it’s not plants). People are eager to show each other the things they’re finding. We are given ten-minute warnings and no one wants to stop collecting …

Figure 0.2. The team hikes across the badlands, July 2013. Photo by the author.

After everyone’s been yanked from the microfossil site, we walk across to the Mud Buttes site, which was reconstructed in a forest diorama at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where Kirk previously worked.

We hike to a spot where you can clearly see the K/Pg boundary—it’s a black stripe along the side of the rock face. We’re encouraged to taste it (to feel the little spheres of glass in our mouths).

Below the boundary are dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period (145–66 million years ago), and above it the remains of the Paleogene (66–56 million years ago), where you lose 30 percent of the flora—or plant life—Kirk explains. The thin layer at the K/Pg is filled with spherules, little marbles of hardened molten glass that traveled thousands of miles from the 180-kilometer crater where an enormous and devastating asteroid hit the Earth. This is one of the best places in the world, Kirk tells us, to ask the dinosaur extinction question.

Kirk explains that the asteroid theory was posited in 1980 by father-and-son team Luis (physicist) and Walter (geologist) Alvarez and their colleagues (chemists), who hypothesized that a cataclysmic impact devastated the Earth’s ecosystem. Their theory of mass extinction by asteroid, now accepted, was considered tabloid science by paleontologists at first. Some scientists were also guilty of calling paleontologists the weak sisters of science. The time it took to come to an agreement in the late 1990s about the asteroid hypothesis shows how much personality (and disciplinary prejudice) plays into science, Kirk says.

Today, he continues, it’s much more common in science to do interdisciplinary work. There are lots of -ologies. The idea now is to bring a whole bunch of -ologists into a room. Conferences on related topics bring together people of different knowledge sets to the same place. In the case of the asteroid theory, paleontologists dismissed the physicists, while the physicists didn’t know geology. Multiple skill sets, he notes, are key.

This, Kirk says, is why we are here. Bringing together multiple skills is the purpose and design of the trip. We all work better based on mutual respect for expertise. Building exhibits is not unlike multidisciplinary science work; the cumulative project is made stronger than the sum of its parts.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

IT WAS BOTH DAUNTING AND AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE TO DO THIS RESEARCH. I have now returned to work at the National Museum of Natural History, and have many very close relationships with my informants, such that the term is far too objective to describe them. In writing this book I have tried to be reflexive about these relationships as well as my own personal biases in order to paint as balanced a picture of institutional life as possible. I hope this work does my colleagues justice. I worked with so many warm people generous with both their knowledge and their time. Abby Telfer, FossiLab coordinator, once told me that the Smithsonian specializes in articulate people. It’s true. They are also sincere in their work and know their own history very well. It makes Smithsonian staff intimidating and amazing to work with.

Let me begin by thanking all of those who directly supported and assisted with this research. First, I thank each of the members of the Deep Time and Temporary Exhibit (Last American Dinosaurs) Core Teams, who welcomed me as an outsider and observer into their workplace. I thank you all for your support, time, and trust in undertaking this project—Anna Kay Behrensmeyer, Sally Love, Angela Roberts Reeder, Hans-Dieter Sues, Abby Telfer, and Scott Wing; a special thank you is due to Amy Bolton, Matthew T. Carrano, Michael Lawrence, and Siobhan Starrs, as well as Kirk Johnson, who reviewed a draft of this manuscript in full and provided important feedback.

To the many others working on the Deep Time project who participated in this research—Kara Blond, Jonathan Coddington, Pauline Dolovich, Elizabeth Duggal, Kathy Hollis, Steven Jabo, Peter Kroehler, Fang-Pin Lee, Richard Lewis, Vincent Skip Lyles, Mark Ostrander, Michelle Pinsdorf, Shari Werb—I am grateful and can only hope I have conveyed your work, enthusiasm, knowledge, and creativity. I also thank Christyna Solhan and Meghan Rivers for their insights on exhibit development and project management for this book. In addition, I had the pleasure to interview, correspond with, and spend time among many brilliant people who generously shared their time and institutional insights with me, and thus shaped the contents of this work, even when they are not cited directly. These include Richard Bambach, Mary Bird, David Bohaska, Michael Brett-Surman, Martin Buzas, Dan Chaney, Diane Cloyd, Alan Cutler, Norman Neal Deaton, Linda Deck, Zahava Doering, Robert Emry, Richard Dick Fiske, William Fitzhugh, Robert Gene Gibson, Frederick Grady, John Gurche, Carol Hotton, Porter Kier, Pherabe Kolb, Mark Lay, Ian G. Macintyre, James Mahoney, Jay Matternes, William Merrill, Elizabeth Miles, Kimberly Moeller, Richard Molinaroli, Lawrence O’Reilly, Sally Parker, Mary Parrish, David Pawson, Andrew Pekarik, John Pojeta, Robert Purdy, Glenn Rankin, Clayton Ray, Jo Ann Sanner, Lorena Rena Selim, George Stanley, Robert Sullivan, Kenneth Towe, Sue Voss, William Watson, and Jonathan Zastrow.

For their thoughtful suggestions, I would also like to thank Abigail Shelton, organizer, and the participants in a writing workshop at the American Philosophical Society in January 2017—Kristen Biels, Katlyn Carter, Amy Ellison, Jessica Frankenfield, David Gary, Reed Gochberg, Joshua Hudelston, Brandon Layton, Michael Madeja, Monique Scott, Hannah Sisk, Patrick Spero, and especially Richard Leventhal, who acted as respondent. I would also like to thank Brian Daniels at the University of Pennsylvania Cultural Heritage Center and Ricardo Punzalan at the University of Maryland Museum Scholarship Colloquium for inviting me to present this work, and the audiences in attendance who made important contributions through their questions and critique. I would also like to thank my Washington colleagues Joshua A. Bell, Gwyneira Isaac, and Robert Leopold at the Smithsonian, as well as Martha Morris at The George Washington University, for offering helpful insights in my development process.

For their help and insight in facilitating my use of archival materials, I thank Ellen Alers, Tad Bennicoff, and Heidi Stover at the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA), and Thomas Jorstad in the Department of Paleobiology.

I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to Michael Mason, Kate Hennessy, and Anthony Shelton for their time and theoretical insights throughout this research. I also thank Bruce Miller, Hector Williams, and Christina Kreps for their thoughtful questions, comments, and suggestions during earlier stages of this work. Susan Rowley was a fantastic advocate as I planned the research and an incredibly thoughtful and attentive mentor throughout.

Further thanks are due to Raymond Rye for the many hours he spent with me unearthing institutional history, and for his close reading and correcting of the historical work presented here. Pamela Henson, Smithsonian’s institutional historian, also provided important historical guidance and made corrections. I am an anthropologist, not a historian, and I relied on ethnographic information and oral interviews to reconstruct certain chronological events and ideas that I have related here; I am sure that there is more work to be done to research and flesh out the historical portions of this book.

I thank Jennifer Shannon for her support throughout my junior career and her careful review of this manuscript and many helpful suggestions in improving its clarity and relevance.

Finally, I owe a great debt of gratitude to colleagues at Berghahn Books, including Series Editors Mary Bouquet and Howard Morphy; Senior Editor Chris Chappell; Operations Manager Melissa Gannon; Editorial Coordinator Amanda Horn; copy editor Ryan Masteller; Production Editor Elizabeth Martinez; and Archeology, Heritage Studies, and Museum Studies Editor Caryn Berg, who helped bring this work to print.

ABBREVIATIONS

CHRONOLOGY A

Lists of Relevant Leadership

Secretaries of the Smithsonian Institution

Joseph Henry 1846–78

Spencer Fullerton Baird 1878–87

Samuel Pierpont Langley 1887–1906

Charles Doolittle Walcott 1907–27

Charles Greely Abbot 1928–44

Alexander Wetmore 1945–52

Leonard Carmichael 1953–64

S. Dillon Ripley 1964–84

Robert McCormick Adams 1984–94

I. Michael Heyman 1994–99

Lawrence M. Small 2000–2007

Cristián Samper (Acting) 2007–8

G. Wayne Clough 2008–14

Albert G. Horvath (Acting) 2015

David J. Skorton 2015–

Administrators/Directors, National Museum/Natural History Museum

Assistant Director in charge of the U.S. National Museum & Director USNM

Spencer Fullerton Baird 1850–87

George Brown Goode 1887–96

Charles Doolittle Walcott 1897–98

Richard Rathbun 1899–1918

U.S. National Museum, Director

William de Chastignier Ravenel 1918–25

Alexander Wetmore 1925–45

A. Remington Kellogg 1948–62*

Frank A. Taylor 1962–71

Director of the Museum of Natural History

Remington Kellogg (Acting) 1957–58*

Albert C. Smith 1958–62

T. Dale Stewart 1962–65

Richard S. Cowan 1965–73

Porter M. Kier 1973–79

James F. Mello (Acting) 1979

Richard S. Fiske 1980–85

James C. Tyler (Acting) 1985

Robert S. Hoffman 1985–87

James C. Tyler (Acting) 1988

Frank Talbot 1989–94

Donald J. Ortner (Acting) 1994–96

David L. Pawson (Acting) 1996

Robert W. Fri 1996–2001

J. Dennis O’Conner (Acting) 2001–2

Douglas H. Erwin (Interim) 2002–3

Cristián Samper 2003–7

Paul Risser (Acting) 2007–8

Cristián Samper 2008–12

Kirk Johnson 2013–

*After 1957 the USNM splits into two units: the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of History and Technology; Kellogg is director of both units FY 1958. After 1967 the USNM is dissolved and the director was no longer was responsible for the two. In 1969 the Museum of Natural History (MNH) became known as the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH).

Paleontology

Head Curator of Geology

George P. Merrill 1897–1929

Ray S. Bassler 1929–48

F. William Foshag 1948–56

G. Arthur Cooper 1956–63

Chair of Paleobiology

G. Arthur Cooper 1963–67

C. Lewis Gazin (Acting) 1967

Porter M. Kier 1967–72

Richard E. Grant 1972–77

Martin A. Buzas 1977–82

Ian G. Macintyre 1982–87

Jack W. Pierce 1987–92

William A. DiMichele 1992–97

Richard H. Benson 1997–2001

Douglas H. Erwin 2001–2

Scott Wing (Acting) 2002

Ian G. Macintyre (Acting) 2002

Scott Wing 2003–6

Jean-Daniel Stanley 2006–7

Conrad Labandeira 2007–10

Brian T. Huber 2010–15

Exhibits

Chief Exhibits Specialist, USNM

John E. Anglim 1955–58

Chief, Office of Exhibits, USNM

John E. Anglim 1959–68

Chief/Director, Office of Exhibits Programs, Smithsonian-wide

John E. Anglim 1969–72

Chief, Natural History Laboratory

James A. Mahoney 1968–70

Deputy Director, Office of Exhibits, Smithsonian-wide

James A. Mahoney 1970–71

Acting Director, Office of Exhibits, Smithsonian-wide

James A. Mahoney 1971–73

Chief, Office of Exhibits, NMNH**

Harry T. Hart 1973–77

Eugene F. Behlen 1977–83

Carl Alexander (Acting) 1983–84

Assistant Director for Exhibitions, NMNH

Lawrence P. O’Reilly 1984–92

Rena Selim 2006–9

Michael Mason 2009–13

Kara Blond 2013–17

Associate Director for Public Programs/Engagement, NMNH

Public Programs, Robert Sullivan 1990–2006

Public Engagement, Elizabeth Duggal 2007–14

**The Office of Exhibits in the NMNH was created in 1973. The Office of Exhibits, 1955–69, and the Office of Exhibits Programs, 1969–73, were charged with natural history exhibits and all SI exhibits prior to that.

CHRONOLOGY B

Geologic Time Scale

Figure 0.3. Geologic time scale. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS.

CHRONOLOGY C

Fossil Exhibits Timeline

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