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Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Curating Biocultural Collections

A Handbook

Biocultural collections cross the boundary between nature and culture, documenting the remarkable richness and diversity of human engagement with the natural world. With materials ranging from blocks of wood to DNA, and from ancient books to new websites, they play a diverse role in research and relaying valuable information about our world. Curating Biocultural Collections is the first book that both recognizes this role and provides wide-ranging advice for successfully managing these resources.

Written and edited by experts from around the world, Curating Biocultural Collections  draws on real-world experiences, providing examples from ethnobiology, anthropology, agriculture, botany, zoology, and museum curation. The book places a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of collection users and encourages ethical and equitable engagement with source communities. With one hundred photographs, including objects from little-known collections, alongside case studies and a carefully chosen bibliography, this book gives valuable insight for anyone working to preserve valuable resources.

250 pages | 100 color plates | 7 1/2 x 10 | © 2014

Biological Sciences: Conservation

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"I recommend this book to anyone working in a museum that holds either natural history (especially zoology or botany), archaeological, or anthropological collections. It offers a fresh way of thinking about potential implications and uses for such collections, in a more holistic way than is often achieved in multidisciplinary museums."

Journal of Historical Geography

Table of Contents

Section I. Introduction
1. Biocultural collections: needs, ethics, and goals
Jan Salick, Katie Konchar and Mark Nesbitt
     Box: Ethical standards in ethnobiology
     Ethnobiology Working Group
Featured Biocultural Collections:
Missouri Botanical Garden, Biocultural Collection
Katie Konchar and Jan Salick
National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Economic Botany Collection
Peter Wyse Jackson and Matthew Jebb
National Museum of Natural History, Paris, Ethnobiology Collections
Serge Bahuchet

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Economic Botany Collection
Mark Nesbitt
Smithsonian Collections
Michele Austin-Dennehy and Adrienne Kaeppler
Section II. Practical Curation of Biocultural Collections – Materials
2. Curating ethnographic specimens
Jan Timbrook
     Box: Curating ethnographic textiles
     Box: Labelling: what not to do
3. Herbarium curation of biocultural plant collections and vouchers
Jan Salick and James Solomon
     Box: Herbarium collections
4. Curating ethnobiological products
Michael J. Balick and Katherine Herrera
     Box: The Henry Hurd Rusby collection of economic botany
5. Curating palaeoethnobotanical specimens and botanical reference collections
Deborah M. Pearsall
6. Curating ethnozoological and zooarchaeological collections
Terrance Martin
7. Curating DNA specimens
David M. Spooner and Holly Ruess
8. Curating seeds and other genetic resources for ethnobiology
David Dierig, Harvey Blackburn, David Ellis and Mark Nesbitt
     Box: United States National Plant Germplasm System
     Box: Storage Protocols for Seeds at National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP)
     Box: Project MGU: The Useful Plants Project at the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB)
     Tiziana Ulian
9. Curating xylaria
Alex C. Wiedenhoeft
10. Living plant collections and ethnobotany in botanic gardens
Andrew Wyatt
     Box: Living biocultural collections
Section III. Practical Curation of Biocultural Collections – Reference Materials and Metadata
11. Database standards for biocultural collections
Alyse Kuhlman and Jan Salick
12. Curating ethnographic information for biocultural collections
Serge Bahuchet
     Box: Biocultural collections of French Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
     Box: Recovering cultural context: a basketry shield from the Amazon
     Cristina Rico Liria
     Box: Process is important: Cuban cigars
     Peter Wyse Jackson
     Box: Process is important: mastic
     Peter Wyse Jackson
     Box: Draft structure for the ethnobiological data base in the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
     Flora Pennec, Simon Juraver, Marina Quiñe and Serge Bahuchet
13. Cataloguing and curation of ethnobiological books and archives
Judith Warnement
     Box: Botanical and economic botany library collections of Harvard
     Box: Conservation at the Peter H. Raven Library, Missouri Botanical Garden
     Box: Storage and display at the Peter H. Raven Library, Missouri Botanical Garden
     Box: Palmer Collection at Harvard
14. Curating ethnobiological photographs
Will McClatchey and Kim Bridges
     Box: A specific example of archival storage
15. Linguistic and audio-video collections in ethnobiology
K. David Harrison and Karim Sariahmed
16. Legal aspects of biocultural collections
Charles R. McManis and John S. Pelletier
Section IV. Contexts and Perspectives on Biocultural Collections
17. Indigenous perceptions of biocultural collections
Jane Mt. Pleasant
18. Native American perspectives on biocultural collections and cultural restoration
Linda S. Bishop
19. Multicultural perspectives on biocultural collections
Neil R. Crouch, Henrik Balslev, Kamal Bawa, Robert Bye, Sangay Dema, Edelmira Linares, Pei Shengji, Armand Randrianasolo, and John Rashford
     Box: Repatriation of the Zimbabwe Birds
     Neil R. Crouch
20. Historical perspectives on Western ethnobiological collections
Caroline Cornish and Mark Nesbitt
     Box: The ethnobotany collection – Botanical Garden Research Institute of Rio de Janeiro
     Viviane Stern da Fonseca-Kruel
Section V. Broader Impacts of Biocultural Collections
21. Research using biocultural collections
David M. Spooner
22. Use of herbarium specimens in ethnobotany
Mark Nesbitt
23. Biocultural collections for conservation
Robbie Hart, Wayne Law and Peter Wyse Jackson
24. Using biocultural collections for education
Catrina T. Adams and Gayle J. Fritz

     Box: Sacred seeds – a global network of living useful plants collections
     Ashley Glenn
25. Biocultural collections: the view from an art museum
Matthew H. Robb
26. Biocultural collections: exhibition concept, planning, and design
Tom Klobe and Michael B. Thomas
Subject Index

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