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Dr Sam Alberti

Dr Sam Alberti
Director of Collections
E: T: 0131 247 4415

The Director of Collections is responsible for curatorial departments, research policy and programmes, collections management and conservation.

Sam trained in the history of science and medicine and wrote a PhD on late Victorian science at the universities of Leeds and Sheffield. He became interested in museums as the focus of historical study before working in them – first at the Manchester Museum, then as Director of Museums and Archives at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (which includes the Hunterian Museum).

Sam is an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy. Previously he taught museum studies and the history of science at the University of Manchester, and was Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. He has curated exhibitions on race, museum history, and the First World War; his books include Nature and Culture: Objects, Disciplines and the Manchester Museum (MUP, 2009) and Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain (OUP, 2011). His next book is concerned with the functions of science and technology museums.

His research has focussed on the history of collections, in particular the trajectories and meanings of scientific, medical and natural objects in Britain since 1800. He supervises doctoral projects on the history and material culture of science, technology and medicine as well as museum practices. Currently, Sam’s practice is concerned with Cold War museology and the role of museums in the climate emergency.

Selected publications

Alberti, S.J.M.M. 2020. The Cold War in Museums: Using Artefacts to Tell Twentieth-Century History’, Bulletin of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research 1: 43–45

Alberti, S.J.M.M. 2019. Shaping Scientific Instrument Collections: A Historiography [and] Scientific Instrument Curators in Britain: Building a Discipline with Material Culture. Journal of the History of Collections 31/3: advance online.

Alberti, S.J.M.M. 2018. Drawing Damaged Bodies: British Medical Art in the Early Twentieth Century. Bulletin for the History of Medicine 92: 439–473.

Alberti, S.J.M.M., A. Blackwell, P. Davidson, M. Goldberg and G.N. Swinney. 2018. The Art and Science of Replication: Copies and Copying in the Multi-Disciplinary Museum. In Museums as Cultures of Copies: The Crafting of Artefacts and Authenticity, ed. B. Brenna, H.D. Christensen and O. Hamran. London: Routledge.

Alberti, S.J.M.M., E. Cox, T. Phillipson and A. Taubman. 2018. Collecting Contemporary Science, Technology and Medicine. Museum Management and Curatorship 33: 402–427.

Alberti, S.J.M.M. 2017. Why Collect Science? Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies 15: 1–10.

Alberti, S.J.M.M., S. Allen, X. Dectot and R. Gill. 2017. Reflecting the Now: Project Management and Contemporary Collecting in a Multi-Disciplinary Museum. Museum & Society 15: 324–342.

Alberti, S.J.M.M. and E Hallam, eds. 2013. Medical Museums: Past Present Future. London: Royal College of Surgeons.

Lynch, B.T. and S.J.M.M. Alberti. 2010. Legacies of Prejudice: Racism, Co-production and Radical Trust in the Museum. Museum Management and Curatorship 25: 13–35.

Alberti, S.J.M.M. 2005. Objects and the Museum. Isis 96: 559–571.

Alternate Text

Materialising the Cold War

Three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, our collaborative project explores how the Cold War is represented in museums.

Find out more

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