Origins of Natural Science in America

The Essays of George Brown Goode

Edited and with an Introduction by Sally Gregory Kohlstedt
Published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991

origins-of-natural-science-144x223George Brown Goode (1851–1896), ichthyologist and curator of what would become the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, reflected and shaped much of the system found in late nineteenth-century museums, from broad theoretical issues down to the details of acquisition.  This volume collects five of Goode’s most significant essays on the history of science and museum practice in America.  It opens with a biographical essay followed by Goode’s own histories of the sciences in North America from colonial times through the late 19th century.  Goode wanted museums to represent a comprehensive and collaborative approach to natural history and presented a tripartite mission for museums: to act as center for collection-based research, to educate visitors, and to maintain exhibitions. This volume brings back into circulation a set of influential essays from the late 19th century, a pioneering effort at the history of North American science and a reflection of the outlook toward natural history and museums during what has been called the “golden age” of museum development.

Table of Contents

George Brown Goode, 1851-1896
The Beginnings of Natural History in America
The Beginnings of American Science
The Origins of the National Scientific and Educational Institutions of the United States
Museum-History and Museums of History
The Museums of the Future

Origins of Natural Science in America: The Essays of George Brown Goode is no longer in print.