Item description for Exposing Electronics (Artefacts) by Bernard Finn...
It is clear that artifacts have the power to provoke thought, inspire action and arouse passions. There is evidence of this in the ever-increasing number of museums as well as in the ability of those museums to stimulate controversy through exhibits. As a consequence, much has been written analyzing the interaction between objects and museum visitors. Less well recognized, or understood, is the value of objects for historical research. In this series of books we propose to show by example how artifacts can be employed in the study of the history of science and technology in ways ranging from motivating a line of research to providing hard evidence in the solution of an otherwise insoluble problem. The first volume focused on medicine; in this, the second volume, the topic our authors address is electronics. As readers will discover, there is considerable scope in the range of topics and in the range of uses of artifacts. There is also a section that suggests to readers what kind of questions they might consider when they visit electrical exhibits, and where those exhibits are to be found. This series is sponsored by the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the Science Museum in London, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, with help from professional historians in other museums and elsewhere.
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Studio: CRC Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.84" Width: 7.56" Height: 0.65" Weight: 1.53 lbs.
Release Date Dec 21, 2000
ISBN 9058230562 ISBN13 9789058230560
Availability 0 units. This item is restricted to one per order.
More About Bernard Finn
Bernard Finn is Curator Emeritus of Electrical Collections at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author or editor of a number of books and articles on electrical history, museums, and submarine telegraphy.
Reviews - What do customers think about Exposing Electronics (Artefacts)?
Why we save things and how collections inspire museums. Mar 2, 2003
Book Review: Exposing Electronics edited by Bernard Finn, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
Exposing Electronics is the second Volume of a series "Artefacts: Studies in the History of Science and Technology". (Artefact: a functional or decorative man-made object) "..historians are using technological artefacts in the study and interpretation of the recent past. Their work is largely pioneering, as they investigate approaches and modes of presentation."
While a delegate at IEEE Sections Congress in Washington DC, last year, a group of us were conducted around the exhibit "Information Age" in the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. Our guide was Bernard "Barnie" Finn, who is a curator and designer of "Information Age".
Our small group of electrical engineers heard a "behind the scenes" explanation of how the exhibits were put together with the rationale of attracting and holding the interest of the public of all ages. To us it was fascinating - not just a collection of original objects, but a story line threading through communications - telegraphy, telephony, digital, satellite; computation - calculating engines, data processing, real-time data bases; electronic devices - control, power, integrated circuits. The displays of artefacts were supplemented by photographs, posters, videos, and original films which helped our understanding of the motivations and needs of the engineers and scientists who built them.
"Why" are there museums and how do things end up displayed in museum exhibits? Exposing Electronics tells us about the "Information Age" exhibit and points out many of the problems in communicating the history behind the objects.
Why do we go to museums? The theory of learning is touched: What is the necessity of prior learning for vision? The role of the curator- `first helps visitors to see artefacts more clearly, then imbues those artefacts with symbolic values that come from their function and history.'
Exposing Electronics is worth having from many points of view. It is a high quality publication 19cmx 24cm filled with interesting chapters, historical photographs and clear drawings of electronic devices - J.A.Fleming's valves; Wilhelm Cauer's calculating engines, Baaken's transistor devices, Boysel's microprocessor, Seymour Cray's supercomputers, I.I.Rabi's molecular beam apparatus.
The stories are those of our contemporaries and predecessors. The chapters have many notes which support the observations and conclusions, and invite further investigation.
The final chapter "Collectors and Museums" suggests the origins and uses of why we save, classify, index, record, things as a hobby, and how these collections can end up in museums. "Collectors help to shape museums, and therefore to shape the ways we present our cultural identities to ourselves and to others." The author notes that `Electricity is well represented in museums throughout the world.' and lists five pages of them around the world- one near you
Exposing Electronics Finn, Bud, Trischler eds. xiv+199 pp. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers 2000. Euro25 paper ISBN 90-5823-057