Just read about Richard Fortey’s Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum in this week’s New York Times Book review.
Dry Storeroom No. 1 is not a title that jumps out at you and I almost passed on reading Olivia Judson’s review of it.
But upon further inspection, it sounds like a fascinating and entertaining read.
Richard Fortey, paleontologist and writer, is an expert in trilobites (small extinct anthropoids with an extensive fossil record second only to dinosaurs) who has spent the vast his career to the Natural History Museum in London. Some of his other books are The Hidden Landscape, Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth, Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution, Fossils: The Key to the Past, and The Earth: An Intimate History.
Dry Storeroom No. 1 is about the museum’s collections that are rarely seen by casual visitors. At most museums, only a tiny fraction of the actual collections are on display. At the Natural History Museum there are five working departments: paleontology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and entomology. In each department, scientists collect, analyze, describe, catalog and preserve specimens, many of which have not been previously identified or names.
Since I love museums — at one point I sent my resume in to dozens of museums — I think I’d enjoy this book.
Somehow I’ve got to find more time to read….