Parution : Exchanging objects : nineteenth-century museum anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution

Exchanging objects


  • Nichols, Catherine A. Auteur

Catherine A. Nichols is an Advanced Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies at Loyola University Chicago, where she serves as Director and Curator of the May Weber Ethnographic Study Collection. Previously she was the Assistant Curator at Arizona State University’s Museum of Anthropology. Her work on exchanges at the Smithsonian Institution and Field Museum has been published in Museum AnthropologyMuseum and Society, and History and Anthropology. In addition to curatorial work, she is currently developing critical digital projects with museum databases and archival systems.

Résumé de l’éditeur

As an historical account of the exchange of “duplicate specimens” between anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institution and museums, collectors, and schools around the world in the late nineteenth century, this book reveals connections between both well-known museums and little-known local institutions, created through the exchange of museum objects. It explores how anthropologists categorized some objects in their collections as “duplicate specimens,” making them potential candidates for exchange. This historical form of what museum professionals would now call deaccessioning considers the intellectual and technical requirement of classifying objects in museums, and suggests that a deeper understanding of past museum practice can inform mission-driven contemporary museum work.


  • List of Illustrations and Tables viii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • List of Abbreviations xiii
  • Chronology. Lists of Relevant Smithsonian Institution / US National Museum Personnel xiv
  • Introduction. A Bowl’s Journey, There and Back Again 1
  • Part I. The Museum through the Lens of Specimen Exchange
    • Chapter 1. The Smithsonian and the Museum: Specimen Exchange as a Bridge between Joseph Henry’s Research Institution and Spencer Baird’s Grand Cabinet 27
    • Chapter 2. Spencer Baird’s US National Museum and Early Trends in Exchanging Anthropological Duplicates (1861–1880) 63
    • Chapter 3. Networking the US National Museum: Exchanging Anthropological Duplicates (1882–1920) 93
    • Chapter 4. Giving and Receiving: Specimen Exchange between Curators, and the Shaping of Anthropological Collections 135
  • Part II. The Duplicate
    • Chapter 5. Duplicates: Specimens in Motion 163
    • Chapter 6. Catalogs, Classifi cation, and Contingency: Designating Duplicates 186
  • Conclusion. Museum Pasts and Futures 219
  • Appendix. Smithsonian Institution/USNM Table of Distributed Specimens (1854–1880) 231
  • Bibliography 236
  • Index 252

Informations pratiques

  • Éditeur : New York [N.Y.] ; Oxford : Berghahn
  • Date de parution : 2021
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XV-256 p.) : 36 ill., couv. ill. ; 24 cm
  • Collection : (Museums and collections, ISSN 2692-0107 ; 12).
  • Notes : La ressource est également disponible en version numérique
  • Annexes : Notes bibliographiques et bibliographie en fin de contribution. Index
  • ISBN 978-1-80073-052-6 (rel.). – ISBN 978-1-80073-053-3 (e-book)
  • EAN 9781800730526 (relié)


  • PARIS-Médiathèque MQB
Exchanging objects

Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2022, 12 décembre). Parution : Exchanging objects : nineteenth-century museum anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 13 avril 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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