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ERIC Number: EJ879812
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Objects and Objectivity: The Evolution Controversy at the American Museum of Natural History, 1915-1928
Homchick, Julie
Science & Education, v19 n4-5 p485-503 May 2010
For the purpose of this essay, I examine how evolutionary theory was treated and responded to in the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of the Age of Man during the early 1900s. Specifically, I examine how the curatorial work of the museum's president, Henry Fairfield Osborn, relied on the purported use of objectivity as a means by which to communicate the validity of evolutionary theory through the objects in his exhibit. But objectivity represented a resource for anti-evolution critics as well. To show this, I likewise examine how the Baptist pastor, John Roach Straton, responded to Osborn's objects and purported use of objectivity in the Hall of the Age of Man and how he himself attempted to establish a different type of objectivity through pluralistic approaches to theories of origins. Established as a common value, objectivity ceased to be a simple discriminator between scientists and non-scientists within the debate over evolution. While issues over the teaching of evolutionary theory during this period are already well known, I show here that the controversy over evolutionary theory was not only an issue within public schools during the early 1900s, but also within the museum as an institute of public education and how the rhetorical role of objects and space were critical components of argument for both evolutionists and creationists.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A