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Dry Store Room No.1 : The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey
  

Dry Store Room No.1 : The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum

The Real World   Popular Science   eBook Favourites   

Sue Baker's view...

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 8 January 2009.

As close to a virtual tour as you can get without moving pictures. Richard Fortey is the tour-guide, taking us down the dark, echoing passages of the Natural History Museum, behind the public doors, introducing us to colleagues past and present. It’s an unusual history, full of great stories; the author is an engaging and great twinkly presence throughout and leaves us in no doubt as to the importance of the Natural History Museum, past, present and future.

Comparison: Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey

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Synopsis

Dry Store Room No.1 : The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey

Behind the public façade of any great museum there lies a secret domain: one of unseen galleries, locked doors, priceless specimens and hidden lives.Through the stories of the numerous eccentric individuals whose long careers have left their mark on the study of evolutionary science, Richard Fortey, former senior paleaontologist at London's Natural History Museum, celebrates the pioneering work of the Museum from its inception to the present day. He delves into the feuds, affairs, scandals and skulduggery that have punctuated its long history, and formed a backdrop to extraordinary scientific endeavour from Darwin to the present day. He explores the staying power and adaptability of the Museum as it responds to changes wrought by advances in technology and molecular biology – 'spare' bones from an extinct giant bird suddenly become cutting-edge science with the new knowledge that DNA can be extracted from them, and ancient fish are tested with the latest equipment that is able to measure rises in pollution. 'Dry Store Room No.1’ is a fascinating and affectionate account of a hidden world of untold treasures, where every fragment tells a story about time past, by a scientist who combines rigorous professional learning with a gift for prose that sparkles with wit and literary sensibility.

Reviews

‘This book is worthy of the place it tells us about, and that is a pretty lofty chunk of praise.’ The Times

‘In this loving survey of his life at the museum, Fortey...is never less than enthused by all the museum's collections.’ Financial Times

‘Fortey...sneaks us behind the scenes with all the glee of a small child seeing for the first time the museum's iconic Diplodocus skeleton. The beauty of the book is that - just like a museum - you can visit the different sections in any order you choose, lingering in the places that most take your fancy ... and there is plenty of solid science to enjoy, elucidated with brilliant flair.’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. His previous books include the critically acclaimed Life: An Unauthorized Biography, shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998, Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001, The Hidden Landscape, which won the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993 and Fossils - A Key to the Past which is now in its third edition. He also won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing in 2003. He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science in 2002, has been elected to be President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and is a member of the Royal Society.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2008

Author

Richard Fortey

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Publisher

HarperPerennial

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Categories

The Real World
Popular Science
eBook Favourites

Natural history
Museum, historic sites, gallery & art guides
History of science
Museology & heritage studies

ISBN

9780007209897

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