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Samuel Redman

Assistant Professor of History

Sam Redman in a warehouse of material archives

(413) 545-6759

Herter Hall 605

Professor Sam Redman specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. history with a focus on culture and ideas. He received his B.A. in anthropology and history from the University of Minnesota, Morris and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History Since 1607 at the University of California, Berkeley.

At Berkeley, Redman completed dozens of oral history interviews on a wide variety of subjects. He served as Lead Interviewer for the Rosie the Riveter / WWII Home Front Oral History Project and the Japanese American Confinement Sites Oral History Project -- both in collaboration with the National Park Service. Working with a team in California, he launched a project documenting the oral history of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge, resulting in the completion of over a dozen new interviews with men and women who worked on the bridge. At UMass, he is the organizer of the Oral History Lab, an initiative to bring together students, scholars, and communities to improve oral history projects.

Before graduate school, he worked in several museums including the Field Museum of Natural History, Colorado History Museum, and Science
Museum of Minnesota.

He is the author of "Historical Research in Archives: A Practical Guide" published by the American Historical Association and
distributed by Oxford University Press.

His first book, Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums, was published by Harvard University Press in 2016. Bone Rooms was named a Choice Top-25 Outstanding Academic Title for 2016. Nature named the book a Top 20 book for 2016 and Smithsonian Magazine included the book in their list of Top History Books of 2016.

Research Areas

Public history
Oral history
19th and 20th century United States history
History of museums, history of anthropology
Historical research methodology


"‘Have you ever been on the bridge? It has a heartbeat’: oral histories of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, 1933-1989." Oral History. Vol. 46 No. 1. Spring 2018. 91-101.

Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums. Harvard University Press, 2016.

Have Anthropology Museums Become History Museums?: A Visit to Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg, GermanyHistory of Anthropology Newsletter 40, November 30, 2016

Kennewick Man will be reburied, but quandaries around human remains won’tThe Conversation, May 19, 2016.

Reconsidering Body Worlds: why do we still flock to exhibits of dead human beings?” The Conversation, April 8, 2016.

When Museums Rushed to Fill Their Rooms With BonesSmithsonian Magazine, March 15, 2016.

 “How Many Human Skeletons are in U.S. Museums?” History News Network, March 6, 2016.

“Museum tours and the origins of museum studies: Edward W. Gifford, William R. Bascom, and the remaking of an anthropology museum,” Museum Management and Curatorship, September 15, 2015.

Reassessing Institutions of Culture, Power, and Democracy in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” review, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13:2 (April 2015), pp. 277-282.

Historical Research in Archives: A Practical Guide, American Historical Association, 2013.

Courses Recently Taught

Undergraduate Courses:
Introduction to Public History
Theory and Method of Oral History
U.S. History since 1876

Graduate Courses:
Theory and Method of Oral History
Museum and Historic Site Interpretation