Contact details


Herter Hall

161 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
United States



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 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 review in Science called the book, “A must-read for anyone seeking to confront racist worldviews and make the world a better place for all.” An excerpt of the book appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly. An episode of the New Books Network podcast about Prophets and Ghosts can be found here. A third book, The Museum: A Short History of Crisis and Resilience was 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. A review in The Guardian describes the book as, “a slender, taut work of scholarship that explores how museums have responded to crises both external and internal, beginning with the massive 1865 fire at the Smithsonian.” An episode of NPR’s Museum Confidential featuring the book can be heard here.

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.


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).


"Bodies of Knowledge: Philadelphia and the Dark History of Collecting Human Remains." Perspectives on History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, September 15, 2022.

"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.

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

Courses Recently Taught

Undergraduate Courses

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