It’s Christmas Eve 2019. I am sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of books by or about P.T. Barnum. Hopefully this break will allow me to finish the full draft of my dissertation. Barnum and the Penny Press is Chapter 3 of 4. There is also a huge stack of books next to the chair. I am usually at my desk in the library, but it is closed today and tomorrow so I am attempting to attack the futility of working from home and getting back into the habit of pushing out short posts here as writing warmups. That helps me get into the flow anyway.
Dinosaurs, or at least paleontology, makes an appearance in the newest and hottest video game out by RockStar games. There are a gazillion things to do and move through in it but I want to uncover a tiny piece of the fun. SPOILER warning for anyone who wants to play blind, there are video walkthroughs and maps ahead.
I was originally just going to throw some fun screen grabs from these early time machine Phineas and Ferb episodes up on the Paleo Porch facebook page and be done. While going through the episodes for the shots though I noticed there was more to say and show about the museum than just the “back-in-time-with-dinosaurs” trope.
Several days after visiting with Ralph’s great nephew, Bill, he called me to say he had found a small watercolor study for one of the old museum dioramas and a few charcoal studies that Ralph had done as a student and others that were originals submitted as accompanying illustrations for short stories.
For me, History is filled with people and things. I have never really indulged in the movements and theories and isms that seem to infect the past presently. For a historian this is a professional character defect, for me it is what brings history alive and allows us to find our connections to it. It is likely why I spent so much time learning archaeology and paleontology. I believe it is ultimately what lead me to the history of science so I could talk about all of that at once.
Continuing with the Scooby Doo theme here I get to update one of the most exciting stories that has happened since my time here. You remember my last lament of the missing murals? Well guess what isn’t “missing” anymore!
This all started with a mammoth butt.
Turns out Hugh Hudson has a new film out that focuses on the discovery of the prehistoric cave paintings in Altamira. If you aren’t familiar with the discovery, the Cliff Notes version is an 8 year old girl named Maria led her father Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola to a cave which held amazing paleolithic paintings of bison among other wonders; scientific debates ensue. Continue reading Prehistory and Paleolithic Pop Culture
What a way to end a season’s foray into the world of historic networks, correspondence, and collecting. After finishing Fan’s book, I did not image that there could be one with even more methodological examples of what I want to do. Samuel Alberti’s Nature an Culture is that book. It is exactly what I want to do in my own research only aimed at museums in the United States. Continue reading Nature and Culture
In the year since I posted last, I have not only outfitted an more than modest sized traveling museum and finished a second MA, but was able to squeeze in a few shows for students as well. The greatest highlight to share is that in a couple weeks I will be presenting Paleo Porch at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Berlin, Germany. Continue reading One Year On