Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The William R. Maples Collection

Exhibit Poster for Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Dr. William R. Maples (1937-1997) was a world-renowned forensic anthropologist who oversaw the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The collection includes images and documents pertaining to his many high profile cases, including the identification of the real skeleton of Francisco Pizarro, a recent discovery, as it was assumed it was his bones thought to be safely tucked away in a reverved crypt for years, and the remains of President Zachary Taylor in order to put suspicions of assassination to rest. 

Due to his notoriety in the field, Maples was also granted permission to study the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man", whose body was a scientific anomaly during his life and continues to captivate contemporary audiences. Maples’ most famous investigation revolves around the murders of the Romanov family, a mass execution in 1918, which was shrouded in mystery until the bodies were found a little over 70 years later. It would be Maples who would finally identify the skeletons and allow them to be put to rest.

A video montage of pictures taken at the opening reception of the Dead Men Do Tell Tales Exhibit in the FGCU Library Gallery.


Gulf Coast Live! on WGCU interviewed Heather Walsh-Haney Ph.D, Associate Professor and Program Leader of Forensic Studies at FGCU, and Margaret Maples Gilliland. Margaret Maples Gilliland donated the collection to FGCU’s library in honor of FGCU forensic anthropologist Heather Walsh-Haney who was one of Dr. Willaim R. Maples' students.

Click to on the media player to listen to the interview.

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The William R. Maples Collection