Museum history, early naturalists, expeditions, exhibits, collections
The 132-year record of UIMNH essentially mirrors historical and on-going trends in related institutions. As scholarship grew in the natural sciences during the 19th century, natural history museums became centers for scientific research. A "Golden Age" of museum-based expeditionary work and taxonomic research was marked at UI by the careers of curator/naturalists Calvin, Nutting, Macbride, and Shimek. Systematic biology and paleontology thrived with the accumulation of extensive collections. De-emphasis of "natural history" studies followed after 1920-30 with a concomitant growth in cellular and molecular biology. In seeking new directions and financial support, many museums, including UIMNH, shifted emphasis to public education through exhibition and outreach programs (Iowa Hall project). Now, new emphases on collection-based research due to world-wide environmental concerns prove the relevance and resilience of museums.
Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science
© Copyright 1992 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Shrimper, George D.
"The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History: An Historical Perspective,"
Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science: JIAS, 99(4), 86-97.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/jias/vol99/iss4/8