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Samuel J. Redman

Associate Professor of History and Director, Public History Program

(413) 545-6759

Herter Hall 605

Professor “Sam” Redman studies U.S. social, cultural, and intellectual history. 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. 

Redman is the author of three books. His first book, Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums was published by Harvard University Press in 2016. Bone Rooms was selected as a Choice Top-25 Outstanding Academic Title, Nature Top-20 book of 2016, and Smithsonian Top History Book of 2016. His second book, Prophets and Ghosts: The Story of Salvage Anthropology (Harvard University Press 2021) explores the history and legacy of salvage anthropology. A third book, The Museum: A Short History of Crisis and Resilience will be published by NYU Press in 2022. The Museum traces how cultural institutions responded to episodes of crisis over the past century in the United States. 

Before graduate school, Redman worked at the Field Museum of Natural History, Science Museum of Minnesota, and History Colorado. While at Berkeley, Redman served as the Lead Interviewer for the Rosie the Riveter / World War II Homefront Oral History Project. He also helped to organize Berkeley’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Oral History Project and San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge Oral History Project. In collaboration with a New York City based non-profit organization, Voices in Contemporary Art, he has co-led Artist Interview Workshops for more than 300 conservators, curators, educators, and arts professionals. 

Research Areas

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


The Museum: A Short History of Crisis and Resilience (New York: NYU Press, 2022).

Prophets and Ghosts: The Story of Salvage Anthropology (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2021).

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

"A Reckoning Renewed: Museums and the Legacy of Scientific Racism Today,” History of Anthropology Review. March 12, 2021.

Deep Hanging Out as Historical Research Methodology: The National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution,History of Anthropology Review. March 6, 2019. 

"The Smithsonian at war: Museums in US society during World War II," Journal of the History of Collections, January 2019.

"Impossible appraisals: art, anthropology, and the limits of evaluating museum collections in the mid-twentieth century United States," Museum Review. Volume 3, Number 1. September 2018. 

"‘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.

"Behind Closed Doors: What the Piltdown Man hoax from 1912 can teach science today" The Conversation, May 4, 2017.

"Rosie the Riveters discovered a wartime California dream," The Conversation, November 29, 2017.

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

U.S. Between the World Wars 

The Craft of History

Graduate Courses:

Theory and Method of Oral History
Museum and Historic Site Interpretation
Introduction to Public History

The Professional Lives of Historians