A remarkable behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary people, meticulous research, and driving passions that make London’s Natural History Museum one of the world’s greatest institutions.
In an elegant and illuminating narrative, Richard Fortey takes his readers to a place where only a few privileged scientists, curators, and research specialists have been—the hallowed halls that hold the permanent collection of the Natural History Museum. Replete with fossils, jewels, rare plants, and exotic species, Fortey’s walk through offers an intimate view of many of the premiere scientific accomplishments of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Like looking into the mind of mankind and all the fascinating discoveries, ideas, and accomplishments that reside there, Fortey’s tour is utterly entertaining from first to last.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Dry Storeroom No. 1|
|Release Date: 08-19-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Dry Storeroom No. 1|
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Dry Storeroom No. 1
Behind the Galleries
This book is my own store room, a personal archive, designed to explain what goes on behind the polished doors in the Natural History Museum. All our lives are collections curated through memory. We pick up recollections and facts and store them, often half forgotten, or tucked away on shelves buried deep in the psyche. Not everything is as blameless as we might like. But the sum total of that deep archive is what makes us who we are. I cannot escape the fact that working for a whole lifetime within the extravagant building in South Kensington has moulded much of my character. By the same token, I also know the place rather better than any outsider. I am in a position to write a natural history of the Natural History Museum, to elucidate its human fauna and explain its ethology. There are histories that deal with the decisions of the mighty, and there are histories that are concerned with the ways of ordinary people. An admirable history of the Natural History Museum as an institution, by William T. Stearn, was published in 1981. What Stearn largely left out was an account of the achievements, hopes and frustrations, virtues and failings of the scientists who occupied the "shop floor"- the social history, if you like. My own Dry Storeroom No. 1 will curate some of the stories of the people who go to make up a unique place. I believe profoundly in the importance of museums; I would go as far as to say that you can judge a society by the quality of its museums. But they do not exist as collections alone. In the long term, the lustre of a museum does not depend only on the artefacts or objects it contains-the people who work out of si