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Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC
Top Customer Reviews
Fortey's central message is important: the sort of basic (often morphological) systematic and taxonomic work that is being done in museums is important and should not be diminished by administrators' love of "sexy" techniques or charismatic taxa. Our intellectual landscape is being shrunken by the ever-increasing trend to turn museums into sites of performance and tourism rather than of research.
Those familiar with museums will recognize many archetypal figures. Members of the public will get a wonderful insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I highly recommend this book.
It might seem an odd ambition to try to get everyone to pronounce a word correctly. But mine has always been to get the world to say "trilobite" without fudging, and with a certain measure of understanding. My own mother was wont to say "troglodyte," which at least has a certain prehistoric dimension, even if it refers to human cave dwellers rather than extinct arthropods several hundred million years older than humans.
"Did you have a nice week with the troglodytes, dear?" was one of her regular enquiries.
As this (hopefully) illustrates, Fortey is a capable and humorous guide, one who can impart information without the reader minding it a bit. And this book isn't just about hidden exhibits and research. Some of its most fascinating specimens are the humans who work behind the scenes.
One of Fortey's particular strengths is what I call the "Doug Henning Superpower." Older readers may remember Doug Henning as a tie-dyed magician with big hair. Although he should have been aggravating, Henning was able to look as amazed as his audiences at the wonders he wrought onstage. Fortey has this ability as well; he is a guide who takes us behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum with a convincing demeanor of excitement and wonder.
And it's contagious!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We can be glad that Richard Fortey doesn't turn his nose up at gossip. This book is a double treat. You learn some neat facts about natural history and the history of science, and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Diane Hinckley
What a service a dear friend and librarian did when she discovered this fascinating, detailed and very humorous book and sent it to me as a gift. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bernard Ewell, author of ARTFUL DODGERS: FRAUD AND FOOLISHNESS IN THE ART MARKET
Fascinating look into a world we don't get to see.
Our guide is a charming scientist who loves his world and helps us enjoy his world.
fortey has a wonderful grasp of the English language & can explain the complexities of geology etc in terms that ordinary folk can understand. Read morePublished on June 14, 2013 by David Le Bas
So fun to read. This book totally reignites my childhood dream of being in a museum. Lots of good information too.Published on January 2, 2013 by Alyssa
I like Richard Fortey's books. I haven't found a one that I have not enjoyed. This is because he is a good writer. Read morePublished on July 16, 2012 by J. Hundley
It is remarkable that a paleontologist who spent a career in The British Museum assured his readers that the most famous fossil of all, with type material in that very museum, was... Read morePublished on October 1, 2011 by Nom de plume
Having only been able to make one short visit to this wonderful museum I was extremely happy to get a guided tour in book form, one that takes me through both the current museum... Read morePublished on November 15, 2009 by Terry Sofian
"Dry Storeroom No. 1" is a lively, gossipy memoir of the author's lifetime working at the British Museum. Read morePublished on January 6, 2009 by Patricia A. Folley