The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Samuel Redman

Associate Professor of History

(413) 545-6759

Herter Hall 605

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

Before graduate school, Redman worked at the Field Museum of Natural History, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Colorado Historical Society. Redman is particularly interested in questions related to cultural heritage (both tangible and intangible), the history of museums, and cross-cultural interactions in North America. 

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 and a Nature top-20 book. Smithsonian Magazine also included the book in its roundup of Top History Books for 2016. His second book, Prophets and Ghosts: A History of Salvage Anthropology is anticipated through Harvard University Press in 2021. A third book, The Museum in Crisis will be published by NYU Press in 2022. 

Redman’s scholarly essays and articles have appeared in The Journal of the History of Collections, The Museum Review, Oral History, Museum Management and Curatorship, Museum Anthropology, History of Anthropology Newsletter, and Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Other essays and op-eds have appeared in The Conversation, Smithsonian Magazine, and The New York Times. 

Redman enjoys hiking, fishing, baseball, and being outside with his son, Owen. When not writing or teaching in Amherst, he spends time in Northampton, New York City, and back home in Minnesota. 

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 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.

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’t” The Conversation, May 19, 2016.

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

"Museum Histories" Backlist, April 2016.  

When Museums Rushed to Fill Their Rooms With Bones” Smithsonian 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
U.S. Between the World Wars 

Graduate Courses:

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