Comparing and Contrasting Human Evolution Exhibits in Natural History Museums
This thesis examines human evolution as portrayed in Natural History Museum exhibits. It came about due to my interest in physical anthropology, specifically human evolution and even more specifically, how human evolution is portrayed in museums. I chose three museums: The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and The Chicago Field Museum. After deciding on these three museums, I contacted people who were involved with both the museum and the exhibit for an interview. Those people include: Bruce Latimer from Cleveland's museum, Chris Beardfrom Carnegie, and Fred Smith from Chicago's museum. For the interviews, I composed a set form of questions to ask each person in order to compare and contrast the museums.Such questions related to how museums produce such exhibits, in terms of written material and reproductions, in addition to how human evolution is communicated to the public effectively. After visiting the museums and conducting the interviews, I discovered that although the museums differed greatly in style and age of exhibits, they roughly presented the same materials. Future research is suggested as a more in depth study would yield more specific answers.
© Copyright 1999 Anne-Maria Baas