“Marsh’s work makes a significant contribution to museum ethnography; it provides and invites detailed inquiry into the ways in which museums work to develop public displays within their own changing histories, values and processes. Relevant to anyone engaged in museum anthropology and institutional ethnography, Extinct monsters to Deep Time will also be of interest to those within the discipline of museum studies, as well as museum and heritage professionals.” • Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
“Findings in this work are new and useful, presenting evidence showing the benefits to ‘friction and complementarity’ whilst offering insights that can be used by other institutions and collaborative projects to achieve more balanced results in their work…[It] contributes significantly to museum ethnography by delivering a thorough study to the existing body of work…The aspect of practical museology is crucial for museum studies as well as for other disciplines that examine informational institutions that serve and are responsible to the public. For museum researchers the work serves as a fascinating example of multidimensional research in the field.” • Museological Review
“This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of the history of the Smithsonian, of the representation of paleontology, of the changing dynamics of departments and disciplines over time, and of the shift in museums from an emphasis on research to public outreach. It is also an important contribution to the genre of museum ethnography.” • Jennifer Shannon, University of Colorado Boulder
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.
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.
LC: QH70.U62 W276 2019
BL: DRT ELD.DS.383477
BISAC: ART059000 ART/Museum Studies; SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General
BIC: GM Museology & heritage studies; JHM Anthropology