Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Life on Display
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century

Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. Cain


Once defined primarily by their collections, by the end of the twentieth century, American natural history and science museums had become institutions defined largely by their displays. This book uses life science exhibits to illustrate how and why this transformation occurred. Efforts to modernize displays shaped and were themselves shaped by new institutional roles and identities for museums in twentieth-century science education and in American culture. The book reveals the controversies that accompanied exhibition building, chronicling how and why curators, designers, and educators worked ... More

Keywords: natural history museums, science museums, biological display, science education, public understanding of science, exhibition design, visual culture of science

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780226079660
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226079837.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karen A. Rader, author
Department of History at Virginia Commonwealth University

Victoria E. M. Cain, author
Department of History at Northeastern University