Natural history museums are changing, both because of their own internal development and in response to changes in context. Historically, the aim of collecting from nature was to develop encyclopedic assemblages to satisfy human curiosity and build a basis for taxonomic information. Today, with global biodiversity in rapid decline, there are new reasons to build and maintain collections, while audiences are more diverse, numerous, and technically savvy. Institutions must learn to embrace new technology while retaining the authenticity of their stories and the value placed on their objects.
The Future of Natural History Museums begins to develop a cohesive discourse that balances the disparate issues that our institutions will face over the next decades. It disassembles the topic into various key elements and, through commentary and synthesis, explores a cohesive picture of the trajectory of the natural history museum sector.
This book contributes to the study of collections, teaching and learning, ethics, and running non-profit businesses and will be of interest to museum and heritage professionals and academics and senior students in Biological Sciences and Museum Studies.
List of Illustrations
Foreword Kirk Johnson
Introduction Eric Dorfman
Section 1: Collecting and Preserving in a Changing World
1. The Future of Natural History Collections Christopher A. Norris
2. A Holistic Ethics for Nature-Focused Museums Museums in the Anthropocene Emlyn Koster, Eric Dorfman, and Terry Simioti Nyambe
3. Natural History Museum Security Hanna Pennock
4. The Future of Research in Natural History Museums Frank Howarth
5. The Essential Role of Museums in Wildlife Conservation Felicity Arengo, Ana L. Porzecanski, Mary Blair, George Amato, Christopher Filardi, and Eleanor J. Sterling
Section 2: The Future of Natural History Visitor Experiences
6. Imagining the Future of Natural History Museum Exhibitions Kara Blond
7. Teaching in Natural History Museums Colette Dufresne-Tassé and Pierre Pénicaud
8. The Natural Futures Museum: Interactivity and Participation as Key Instruments for Engaging Audiences Christopher J. Garthe
Section 3: Interfaces
9. Natural History Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums Gerald Dick
10. The Evolution of Natural History Museums and Science Centers: From Cabinets to Museums to . . . Anna Omedes and Ernesto Páramo
11. National and International Legislation Lynda Knowles
12. Natural History Museums as Enterprises of the Future Eric Dorfman
Section 4: Commentary and Synthesis
13. The Future of Natural History Museums: Commentary Conal McCarthy
14. The Future of Natural History Museums: General Discussion Eric Dorfman, Isabel Landim, and Osamu Kamei
This research series, developed by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), draws on the expertise of ICOM’s worldwide network of museum professionals, representing a range of museum- and heritage-related disciplines.
Bridging theory and practice, the series addresses diverse issues of broad interest to the museum field and is of relevance for institutions around the world, featuring contributions by representatives of a range of cultures. Focusing on different types of museums and diverse fields of activity within the museum, the titles in the series will provide useful and thought-provoking insights for today’s museum professionals. Its multi-perspective approach ensures its relevancy for academics, researchers and students of museology. The behind-the-scenes glimpses offered into the state of the field will also appeal to the general museum-going public.