On Becoming Human

I’m enjoying a rare opportunity to indulge in a little bit of curation. At Carnegie Museum of Natural History, we are putting up a new display on human evolution called Becoming Human and I’m working with our wonderful exhibitions team to work through the various stages of its development. It’s going to be installed next … More On Becoming Human

Sustainability, Earth Day, & Hope for the Future

I have just accepted a very exciting invitation – to be on the Earth Day 50th Anniversary Global Advisory Committee, joining an incredible list of active supporters of the planet’s environment, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Cousteau, and Alan Horn, Chief Creative Office and Co-Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. The invitation to be … More Sustainability, Earth Day, & Hope for the Future

Natural History and a Unified Museum Definition

Much is being said within the museum industry about the definition of museums. ICOM is considering the current definition and whether it needs to be rethought. I think a review is worthwhile, regardless of whether changes are ultimately made. Robust thinking about museums (or any field, in fact), whether related to practice or theory, should … More Natural History and a Unified Museum Definition

Art, Science and the Intersection of Knowledge

I’ve always loved this painting. Vertumnus looks serenely at the viewer, a slight smile making you think he knows something you’d like to. It’s a clever work of Mannerism, seamlessly weaving a complex array of perfectly rendered fruits and other plants into the portrait of a human face full of character. The portrait is of … More Art, Science and the Intersection of Knowledge

What’s wrong with a gay facial recognition program

Last September, there was a brief flurry of activity over the idea of a program that can distinguish homosexual versus heterosexual faces, based on their online dating image (see this, for instance, from the BBC). It started shortly before a scientific article was published by Stanford’s Yilun Wang Michal Kosinski in the online journal Open … More What’s wrong with a gay facial recognition program

Counting Your Chickens: The World’s Most Numerous Bird

If you Google “the world’s most numerous bird,” you will likely be given articles about the Red-Billed Quelea (Quelea quelea), also known as the Red-Billed Weaver Bird or Red-Billed Dioch that lives across most of sub-Saharan Africa. It’s considered the most numerous wild bird on earth,  the population sometimes peaking at 1½ billion individuals. Individually, … More Counting Your Chickens: The World’s Most Numerous Bird

Environmental Issues: Every Museum’s Responsibility

Last May 7, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a round-table discussion (called “Hot Topics”) as part of the International Council of Museum’s contribution to the American Alliance of Museums’ 2018 conference. Our hour-long round-table discussion was hosted by ICOM-US (International Council of Museums USA). Our group of ten was highly diverse, including designers, architects, … More Environmental Issues: Every Museum’s Responsibility