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"Life on Display "traces the history of biological exhibits in American museums to demonstrate how science museums have shaped and been shaped by understandings of science and public education in twentieth-century society. Karen Rader and Victoria Cain document how public natural history and science museums ongoing efforts to create popular educational displays led these institutions to develop new identities, ones that changed their positions in both twentieth-century science and American culture. They describe how, pre-1945, biological exhibitions changed dramaticallyfrom rows upon rows of specimen collections to large-scale dioramas with push-button displaysas museums attempted to negotiate the changing, and often conflicting, interests of scientists, educators, and the public. The authors then reveal how, from the 1950s through the 1980s, museum staffs experimented with wildly different definitions of life science and life science education, and how, in the process, natural history and science museums and science centers faced significant public and scientific scrutiny. The book concludes with a discussion of the ways corporate sponsorship and contemporary blockbuster economics influenced the content and display of science and natural history museums in the century s last decades. As a dynamic historical account of how museums negotiated their multiple roles in science and society, "Life on Display" will attract a diverse audience of cultural historians, sociologists, and ethnographers of science, as well as museum practitioners. "