The Future of Natural History Museums
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.
The Future of Natural History Museums, edited by Eric Dorfman
Natural history museums are changing, both because of their own internal development and in response to changes in context. The Future of Natural History Museums considers these changes and the reasons behind them and begins to develop a cohesive discourse that balances the disparate issues that our institutions will face over the next decades.
Historically, the aim of collecting from nature was to develop encyclopedic assemblages to satisfy human curiosity and build a basis for taxonomic study. Today, with global biodiversity in rapid decline, new reasons emerge to build and maintain collections, which also need to cater to audiences who are more diverse, numerous, and technically savvy. This book explores key elements of this topic and, through commentary and synthesis, develops a cohesive picture of the trajectory of the natural history museum sector in the next 20 to 50 years. Arguing that institutions must learn to embrace new technology, the book considers how they might retain the authenticity of their stories and the value placed on their objects in the process.
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, academics and senior students in Biological Sciences and Museum Studies. It will be launched during the ICOM NATHIST conference in Pittsburgh, 25-30 October 2017.
The book is published by Routledge.