Museums in the Infodemic (A Paperback Book Launch Featuring Behind-the-Scenes Stories)

Event Start Date: Friday, March 17, 2023 - 11:00 am

Event End Date: Friday, March 17, 2023 - 12:30 pm

Location: Hybrid: UMCP Campus (Hornbake South, Room 2119) + Online EST

In honor of the paperback release of Extinct Monsters to Deep Time, the Center for Archival Futures and the Museum Scholarship and Material Culture program at the University of Maryland invite you to a critical conversation about the shifting responsibilities of museum practitioners in an era of information (and misinformation) overload—and how this is changing the way that museums communicate with the public. Renowned experts in collections and exhibitions will join us to share behind-the-scenes stories and discuss their efforts to convey hard truths about our shared past, present, and future in the current information landscape. 

This is a free event, open to museum professionals, researchers, faculty, staff, students, and members of the public with an interest in information, museums, and curation. This is a hybrid event with a Zoom option as well as an option to attend in person (more on transportation and parking). Registration is required.


  • Steven Luckert, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Lindsay Zarwell, National Geographic
  • Ariana Curtis, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Diana Marsh, University of Maryland, Author, Extinct Monsters to Deep Time

Moderated By:

  • Jenniver Shannon, National Museum of the American Indian

About the Book:

Extinct Monsters to Deep Time is an exploration of the growing friction between the research and outreach functions of museums in the 21st century. Describing participant observation and historical research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as it prepared for its largest-ever exhibit renovation, Deep Time, the author provides a grounded perspective on the inner-workings of the world’s largest natural history museum and the social processes of communicating science to the public. Praise for Extinct Monsters to Deep Time:

“Marsh’s work makes a significant contribution to museum ethnography; it provides and invites detailed inquiry into the ways in which museums work to develop public displays within their own changing histories, values and processes. Relevant to anyone engaged in museum anthropology and institutional ethnography, Extinct monsters to Deep Time will also be of interest to those within the discipline of museum studies, as well as museum and heritage professionals.” – Social Anthropology

“The aspect of practical museology is crucial for museum studies as well as for other disciplines that examine informational institutions that serve and are responsible to the public. For museum researchers the work serves as a fascinating example of multidimensional research in the field.” – Museological Review

“This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of the history of the Smithsonian, of the representation of paleontology, of the changing dynamics of departments and disciplines over time, and of the shift in museums from an emphasis on research to public outreach. It is also an important contribution to the genre of museum ethnography.” – Jennifer Shannon, University of Colorado Boulder


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