Thursday, February 26, 2009

Written in Bone: A New Smithsonian Exhibit

"Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake" opened February 7th at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Curated by forensic anthropologists Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide, the exhibit provides information both on 17th-Century Chesapeake ways of life and also on forensic anthropology as a field. It incorporates 340 objects, artifacts and humans bones from more than 20 archaeological organizations and museums, and also includes educational components, such as a hands-on forensic anthropology lab, companion books and an interactive website.

AAA staff Dinah Winnick and Joseph Jones attended a special preview of the exhibit. Speaking about the purpose of exhibit's educational components during the event, Owsley remarked, "I never heard the words 'forensic anthropology' until college. One professor can make a huge difference." He highlighted the importance of educating kids and the general public about anthropology, and the necessity of teaching scientific methodologies, so that they can learn to ask the right kinds of questions.

For photos of the exhibit, see the Anthropology News Flickr gallery. Also, visit the exhibit website to learn more. The exhibition will be on view through February 6, 2011.

1 comment:

kalice said...

I am the designer who worked with Doug and Kari on the companion book Written in Bone: the bone biographer's casebook. I would say that it was probably the most stimulating intellectual and creative project of my career. The process of creating the book was definitely a unique and rewarding collaboration for all of us. As an art director/designer, I had access to art museum quality archival images by Smithsonian Photograher Chip Clark, extensive research material, hours of candid conversations with the scientists Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide, and behind the scenes access to whatever I needed. The exhibit design script was well done plus I had an editor/writer who added the human element without losing the depth, breadth and scope of the work done by the these two tireless scientists.I would do it all again in a minute. My contribution to the field is the end product– a unique book that can hold its own any art museum bookstore. An ART book with very strong visuals and compelling writing that pulls you into the science, making you think, and think again, about the science of forensic anthropology-about human life and death.