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Book Chapter

Something to be said for natural history museums

Gary D. Rosenberg
Gary D. Rosenberg
Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233, USAEarth Sciences Department, Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA
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Renee M. Clary
Renee M. Clary
Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Box 5448, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA
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Publication history
21 May 201806 July 2018



There is no abstract.

Charles Willson Peale’s self-portrait, The Artist in His Museum (book cover; Fig. 1; Newcomb), represents a seminal period in the emergence of natural history museums. Peale (1741–1827) completed the painting in 1822 as the modern natural history museum began to take shape, first in Europe and then in the young American nation as an outcome of the liberalizing transformations of the Enlightenment in both Europe and America. Peale had founded his museum in 1784, the second natural history museum in America. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), where the painting now resides, recounts that Peale was an artist, naturalist, showman, promoter of American ideals, and dedicated to public education.

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Figures & Tables


GSA Special Papers

Museums at the Forefront of the History and Philosophy of Geology: History Made, History in the Making

Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:




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