"This book explores human remains as objects for research and display in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Influenced by early skull collectors such as Samuel George Morton, zealous scientists at museums in the United States established human skeletal collections. Museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum of Natural History established their own collections. Universities soon followed, with bones collected for Penn, Berkeley, and Harvard. American Indian remains collected from the American West arrived at museums at an increasingly fervent pace, and the project swiftly became global in scope. Coinciding with a high-water mark in Euro-American colonialism, collecting bones became a unique and evolving expression of colonialism experienced through archaeological, anthropological, and anatomical study of race and the body via work with human remains collections. In revealing this story, The Great Bone Race surveys shifts away from racial classification theories toward emerging ideas regarding human origins, arguing that the study of human remains contributed significantly to changing ideas about race and human history. These ideas were hotly contested, and competition to collect and exhibit rare human remains from around the world thrust ideas about race and history into the public realm through prominent museum displays visited by millions."--Provided by publisher.