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 technologically 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 discusses issues that our institutions will face over the next decades, including the study of collections, teaching and learning, ethics, and running nonprofit businesses.
Dr. Eric Dorfman is Director of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, an active advocate for natural and cultural heritage, and an author of popular books on natural history. Since 2013, he has been President of the International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History. Prior to his current position, he was Director of Whanganui Regional Museum in New Zealand and lectured in the Museums and Heritage Studies Department of Victoria University of Wellington.
A panel discussion with Eric Dorfman and contributors to the book will be followed by an informal meet-and-greet of the panelists in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
This Made Local event is presented in partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History Conference.