Tracey's Reviews > Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs in the Attic by Douglas Preston
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Apr 08, 08

bookshelves: libraryread, nyc
Read in April, 2008

While the Smithsonian is known as "The Nation's Attic" - one can make a case that many museums could be described thusly. Especially a collection that started in 1869 when the science of "natural history" was still being defined, and the hunger for knowledge (and mastery) of the natural world was very strong.

The first section is an exploration into how some of the artifacts in the American Museum of Natural History got there, detailing several "expeditions", mostly for dinosaur fossils. I wonder what these adventurer types would be doing if they lived in the present day?

The second section of the book delves into some of the different collections at the Museum, but once again, focusing equally on the stories behind the artifacts as well as the artifacts themselves. Those with weak stomachs may want to skip the part that describes how the animal skeletons are procured and cleaned... (tho readers of Stiff will see familiar territory).

While perhaps not a cohesive book, I found this to be a quirky exploration of a venerable institution and very enjoyable!

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