Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bone of No Contention

Museums spend so much time worrying about people who don't want their mortal remains (or those of their ancestors) to end up in the collections that it's easy to forget that some people are only too happy to donate their body for some higher purpose. So it's a pleasure to report this story from the Washington Post (passed on to me by my good friend and colleague Lisa Elkin) regarding the late Gordon S. "Grover" Krantz, formerly Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University and doyen of sasquatch hunters. Before his death in 2002, Krantz expressed a desire not just to donate his skeleton to the Smithsonian Institution, but also to have it placed on exhibit. The former is a good deal easier than the latter; for very good reasons, museums are usually extremely reluctant to accept any specimen that has a condition of display attached to it. Krantz was apparently advised by staff at the National Museum of Natural History that this would be a very long shot and it was more likely that his skeleton would remain disarticulated in the collections. Nonetheless, here he is, 7 years later, along with the skeleton of his Irish wolfhound, Clyde, who predeceased him. The mount, which was made by Museum preparator Paul Rhymer, is a beautiful piece of work and forms part of "Written in Bone," a new exhibit on the science of forensic anthropology that just opened at the NMNH. (Image Copyright NMNH)

1 comment: