Saturday, July 25, 2009

Museum behind the scenes

On the day I found the turn-of-the-century photograph of the 2 men making a death mask, I also found these historical images of staff working to put together displays at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. The photos above link to further information about each one, but the treasure trove is here. Between prints, negatives, and lantern slides, the AMNH holds over 1 million images in their photographic archives, so they call this on-line exhibit "small" and promise to add the entire collection to it.
I first heard of the AMNH "Picturing the Museum" exhibit on one of my favorite websites Curious Expeditions. One of the writers of that site, Dylan Thuras, has teamed up with the founder of the Athanasius Kircher Society, Joshua Foer, to launch an incredible new website Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities & Esoterica. The Atlas Obscura includes many of the places I have blogged about, including the Paris Catacombs, the Mutter Museum, and the Sedlec Ossuary. Since many of my readers have been to or know about equally strange and wondrous places, I encourage you - as they have encouraged me - to visit, comment, and contribute!
I've been on "behind the scenes" visits to several museums, some of which have entries in the Atlas Obscura - the National Museum of Health and Medicine, the Mutter Museum, the San Diego Museum of Man, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History - and can personally vouch for the fact that that they are even more fascinating from the back side than the front. Did you know that most museums only have room to display about 10% of their collections?

1 comment:

  1. Do you always write such good blogs. I am interested in reading more of your work. I have bookmarked your site. Thanks in advance.


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