Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs in the Attic An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaurs in the Attic is a chronicle of the expeditions discoveries and scientists behind the greatest natural history collection every assembled Written by former Natural History columnist Douglas

  • Title: Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History
  • Author: Douglas Preston
  • ISBN: 9780312104566
  • Page: 381
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dinosaurs in the Attic is a chronicle of the expeditions, discoveries, and scientists behind the greatest natural history collection every assembled Written by former Natural History columnist Douglas Preston, who worked at the American Museum of Natural History for seven years, this is a celebration of the best known and best loved museum in the United States.

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      Published :2019-01-10T06:39:03+00:00

    1 thought on “Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History”

    1. Now this was satisfying from nearly beginning to end. It's a look at New York City's natural history museum, split into two parts. The first is a more straightforward history of the institution, both how it came about as well as how the philosophy of managing an enormous natural history collection developed over the years. The second half is a look at some of the specific pieces in the collection, selected to illustrate various aspects of the mission of the museum. And, let me stress, it had A L [...]

    2. I have a whole new appreciation for the museum now. First of all, they is so much more there than I ever realized. There are 2 million butterflies, the skeletons of 100 elephants, 60,000 fish in jars of alcohol, a grasshopper found on the observation deck of the Empire State building, 4,000 Asian shadow puppets, 8 million anthropological artifacts, and the list goes on and on. A tiny fraction of all that's housed in the museum is out on display, which is shocking considering how much is on displ [...]

    3. Douglas Prestonn was on the staff of the Amer. Museum of Natural History and authored a monthly column on the Museum in "Natural History' magazine. This was his first book. Lincoln Child was the editor. This is how the team of Preston/Child became partners in mystery writing. Child became so interested in the American Museum of Natural Hisotry and all it's many stories and secrets after reading Preston's book that he knew they had a winner if they could join forces and use the Museum in their my [...]

    4. Definitely an interesting read, although I was a bit underwhelmed at how much of the controversy surrounding the anthropology collection was brushed aside. There would have been space to delve a bit more into the ethical questions raised by museum collecting practices (particularly in the early days), so parts come across as being a bit tone-deaf. Whether or not this was the author's decision or an editorial choice is unclear, as he certainly addresses these issues in his fiction set in the muse [...]

    5. Great read, if a little outdated. Some of the halls he mentions (like the Hall of North American Birds) sadly, don't exist any more at the Museum. As a former volunteer, it was great to read about some of my favorite artifacts and how they got into their respective exhibits.

    6. A really interesting and enjoyable look at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This was written by Douglas Preston who worked at the museum for seven years and is also the author along with Lincoln Child of one of my favorite series of thriller novels, the Pendergast stories. I can see now where Preston obtained a lot of his background information for the series and for some of his other novels such as Tyrannosaur Canyon and The Ice Limit. Of course, many of the Pendergast s [...]

    7. This book is a fun punch bowl of facts about one of my favorite museums. But, there is one turd swimming around in it: a casual attitude about the racism built into institutions of this type. Example: in the introduction, the author boasts that the AMNH includes in its collection "100 complete elephants, and the largest skeletal collection of Manhattan aborigines, among others." Try substituting the word "Jews" for "Manhattan Aborigines" and you can imagine the uproar that would understandably f [...]

    8. As a kid I read any story I could get my hands on about archeological expeditions, survival under harsh conditions and intrepid explorers. I devoured drama in the Gobi desert; pack ice and bitter cold above the Arctic Circle and in Antarctica and more. Dinosaurs in the Attic is the adult version of those tales. The 1st half of the book details some of the expeditions underwritten and staffed by the U.S. Museum of Natural History; the 2nd part dives into some of the lesser known collections. Who [...]

    9. When I was in 1st and 2nd grade my family lived in Manhattan and the AMNH was one of my regular hangouts. Really enjoying reading about the birth of the institution and the hair-raising tales of some of the early collecting expeditions.

    10. A fun romp through the American Museum of Natural History which provides the reader with a history of the museum itself, some of its more interesting acquisitions and some of the colorful people who have been associated with the AMNH since its inception.

    11. A quick and fun read with an eclectic mixture of origin stories surrounding the artifacts in the Museum of Natural History as well as the Museum itself.

    12. Ranging from events around the museums founding to curious tales related to museum artifacts, Douglas Preston's Dinosaurs in the Attic is a must-read for anyone who loves museums.

    13. Highly enjoyable look at the birth and growth of one of the greatest museums of Natural History in the world. In the age of social media and tweets where even our most recent history has been dis-guarded for the latest antics of an over hyped personality.looking at the very beginnings of our universe, the beginnings of life, the history of mankind and its now lost tribes and cultures and the artifacts that inform us of their existence, the animals now as extinct as their habitats might seem unim [...]

    14. I’m a history geek, I’ll admit it. English and History were always my favorite subjects in school, and my history courses in college are so far the only ones I’ve ever looked forward to. I’d love to major in some form of history if I could, and when I go back to college I’m going to seriously consider it. With that in mind, this book seemed like it was written just for me. I wish I had read it on the plane ride to New York so that I could step into the halls of the American Museum of N [...]

    15. Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History by Douglas Preston★★★★Dinosaurs in the Attic is a chronicle of the expeditions, discoveries, and scientists behind the greatest natural history collection ever assembled – found at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I love museums and I love books (obviously), so this was right up my alley. This book doesn’t delve into the most of the more known objects and people associated with the mus [...]

    16. This book is a pleasant guided tour through one of the best known museums in New York. It is also a history of where I work. AMNH is a massive place with a great history, a history that isn’t as well organized as Preston’s book would let you believe. The institutional memory is spotty, and not well-organized. I have spent some days digging around old files and found some odd things myself, but not about objects that are quite as famous as the ones in this book. And so I am thankful to have t [...]

    17. I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in the American Museum of Natural History a few years ago and it was awesome. I only wish I had read this book before as it would have helped me enjoy the sights even more with backstory of the museum and the collections. As with Preston's other books you can really tell he has a passion and interest in what he's writing about. He tells the boring dates and names but wraps them up in stories and anecdotes that really bring home that there was actual pe [...]

    18. Great book for all you museum lovers. This was a great way to learn the behind the scenes, neat stories about the history of the American Museum of Natural History and some of the exhibits and relics within. Douglas Preston's writing style and interest in the subject matter makes this a more enjoyable read. It was organized to tell a good story, rather than chronologically like a history of the museum would have been.Two things I wish 1) He had written an updated version once the Night At the Mu [...]

    19. 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 wonde [...]

    20. You have to be a certain kind of person to really enjoy this book. I am one of those strange history nuts who would give anything in the world for two special nights: one night in the "attic" of the Smithsonian Institution, and one night in the library of the Vatican. This book is, of course, the closest any of us will probably ever get to a night in the attic of a major museum. "Dinosaurs in the Attic" gives a wonderful behind-the-scenes account of how the New York Museum of Natural History gai [...]

    21. A quirky and fun look at the American Museum of Natural History in NY, NY. This is the "anti-scientist" type of book -- discussing some of the more unique and unknown elements that contributed to the development and history of the museum. The book is divided into 2 parts, the first recounting some of the more memorable and "exotic" explorations and excursions that contributed to the museums collection and lore. The second part just leads the reader through some of the halls / exhibits and random [...]

    22. When this book told me the museum's labs contain jars upon jars of grizzly bear gall bladders, octopus eyeballs, and other floating delights, it prompted me to take my Jar o' Fun to the American Museum of Natural History to see if they would be interested in the jar's contents. A monkey sucking its thumb, a potto, a chameleon, a lion cub, and other assorted creatures had been suspended in chlorophyll since a missionary in Africa had first collected and them back in the late 1960s and now I was i [...]

    23. This is a very well written book that takes snapshots in the building of the American Museum of Natural History and brings them to life for the reader. He documents key events in the life of the Museum and delves into the origins of much of the material that is in the Museum today. His intelligence and passion for natural history come through clearly in his prose, which captures the reader and propels them to the next item.I was attracted to Preston's work because of a movie that I loved (The Re [...]

    24. This book is a bit outdated--from the 80s--but I had been looking at it on my parents' shelves for years and was intrigued by the title. This year I decided to borrow it. Though dated, most of it holds up well.It's a look inside the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. My favorite parts had to do with archaeology, anthropology, bugs, and dinosaurs. I was a little bored by the meteorites and the gems, but the former made the reading worthwhile.As a history of a museum, most of th [...]

    25. I cannot say enough about this book, it was amazing. You recieved a beautiful telling of the museum, the story behind the museum, and several stories behind some of the most loved exhibits, and collections not shown to the public.This non-scientific view appeals to anyone, it is at some points smart, witty, and at other points thought provoking.I think everyone should get ahold of this book. As a museum buff, I was drawn to it, and I was not put down. However, I think this can spark any readers [...]

    26. I grew up loving natural history museums so this book was a real treat for me. Preston's writing style was really engaging so it was an enjoyable read. It was cool to learn about the more behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on in museums. Reading this book gave me a whole new appreciation for all the effort and attention to detail it takes to establish such an institution. It's mind blowing to even think about the magnitude of the collection housed at the American Museum of Natural History. I'm ho [...]

    27. The author was a curator in the New York Museum of Natural History and had the opportunity to examine much of the exhibits that are locked away from public view. He also had the chance to go through the journals of several expedition leaders from which he quotes often enough. The expeditions to Mongolia, Zaire and the Arctic are noteworthy. This book is all about his dear museum and a good account of what readers must know about it to fully appreciate the 150 year old museum.Tidbits about Jumbo [...]

    28. While the book started off strong, and remained interesting throughout, it didn't have very good flow to it. It read more like a series of essays than a cohesive story. I think the author was trying to do too much in one book and the result was that each fascinating story was cut short too soon in order to move onto the next, completely disparate, subject. It has inspired me to want to return to the museum soon to see the different pieces he discusses, but overall I felt like the book left me wa [...]

    29. I enjoyed reading this book even though in the beginning I had my doubts. I am not a museum buff so I did not have high expectations. After getting part of the way through I realized that there were many amazing stories to be told. Not only was it interesting learing about how the museum got up and running, it was also interesting reading the many stories behind the artifacts and how they came to reside in the museum. One story, that I really enjoyed, was about how some of the gems were stolen. [...]

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