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Reinventing the Museum

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Paradigm Shift

Edited by Gail Anderson

This reader brings together 35 seminal articles that reflect the museum world's ongoing conversation with itself and the public about what it means to be a museum—one that is relevant and responsive to its constituents and always examining and reexamining its operations, policies, collections, and programs. In conjunction with the editor's introductory material and recommended additional readings these articles will help students grasp the essentials of the dialogue and guide them on where to turn for further details and developments. « less more »
AltaMira Press
Pages: 416Size: 7 1/4 x 10 1/4
978-0-7591-0170-8 • Paperback • March 2004 • $55.00 • (£37.95)
978-0-7591-1578-1 • eBook • March 2004 • $57.99 • (£39.95)
Gail Anderson has been active in the museum field for over twenty-five years. Formerly deputy director of The Mexican Museum, vice president of Museum Management Consultants, Chair of the Department of Museum Studies at John F. Kennedy University, Anderson is now a museum consultant in private practice. Throughout her career, she has been active in professional organizations as a board member of the American Association of Museums (AAM), as a member of the national committee that produced Excellence & Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums, and as a long-time board member and past president of the Western Museums Association Board of Directors. She is the editor and a contributing author to Museum Mission Statements: Building A Distinct Identity, published by AAM. She is working on her next publication for AltaMira, a comprehensive introductory museum studies text to accompany Reinventing the Museum.
Part 1 Preface with Acknowledgments
Part 2 Introduction: Reinventing the Museum
Part 3 Part I: The Role of the Museum in Society: The Challenge to Remain Relevant
Chapter 4 Introduction
Chapter 5 The Gloom of the Museum (1917)
Chapter 6 What is a Museum? (1942)
Chapter 7 A Twelve Point Program for Museum Renewal (1970)
Chapter 8 The Museum, a Temple or the Forum (1971)
Chapter 9 Rethinking the Museum: An Emerging New Paradigm (1990)
Chapter 10 Museums in the Age of Deconstruction (1992)
Chapter 11 The Real Multiculturalism: A Struggle for Authority and Power (1992)
Chapter 12 Hey! That's Mine: Thoughts on Pluralism and America (1992)
Chapter 13 An Agenda for Museums in the Twenty-First Century (1992)
Chapter 14 Additional Recommended Reading
Part 15 Part II: The Role of the Public: The Need to Understand the Visitor's Perspective
Chapter 16 Introduction
Chapter 17 United States: A Science in the Making (1993)
Chapter 18 Staying Away: Why People Choose Not to Visit Museums (1983)
Chapter 19 The Contextual Model of Learning (2000)
Chapter 20 The Museum's Role in a Multicultural Society (1992)
Chapter 21 Visitor's Bill of Rights (2000)
Chapter 22 Can Museums Be All Things to All People? (2000)
Chapter 23 Additional Recommended Reading
Part 24 Part III: The Role of Public Service: The Evolution of Exhibitions and Programs
Chapter 25 Introduction
Chapter 26 Museum Exhibitions and the Dynamics of Dialogue (1999)
Chapter 27 Changing Practices in Interpretation (1997)
Chapter 28 Making Meaning Together: Lessons from the Field of American History (1993)
Chapter 29 Is There Method in Our Madness? Improvisation in the Practice of Museum Education (1999)
Chapter 30 Mining the Museum: An Installation Confronting History (1993)
Chapter 31 Evaluating the Ethics and Consciences of Museums (1994)
Chapter 32 Additional Recommended Reading
Part 33 Part IV: The Role of the Object: The Obligation of Stewardship and Cultural Responsibility
Chapter 34 Introduction
Chapter 35 What is the Object of this Exercise? (1999)
Chapter 36 Collecting Then, Collecting Today (2002)
Chapter 37 Collections Planning: Pinning Down a Strategy (2002)
Chapter 38 Who Cares? Conservation in a Contemporary Context (1999)
Chapter 39 A Philosophical Perspective on the Ethics and Resolution of Cultural Properties Issues (1999)
Chapter 40 Deft Deliberations (1991)
Chapter 41 Deaccessioning: The American Perspective (1991)
Chapter 42 Additional Recommended Reading
Part 43 Part V: The Role of Leadership: The Essential Ingredient
Chapter 44 Introduction
Chapter 45 Creampuffs and Hardball: Are You Really Worth What You Cost or Just Merely Worthwhile? (1995)
Chapter 46 The Well-Managed Museum (1990)
Chapter 47 Museum Accountability: Laws, Rules, Ethics, and Accreditation (1991)
Chapter 48 Governance as Unique Management (1997)
Chapter 49 Toward a New Governance (1997)
Chapter 50 Institution-wide Change in Museums (2000)
Chapter 51 Persistent Paradoxes (1997)
Chapter 52 Additional Recommended Reading
Part 53 Bibliography
Part 54 About the Editor
Because its conceptual framework and essays so faithfully represent the reigning orthodoxy in American museums, Reinventing the Museum is the perfect survey text for introductory courses and undergraduate offerings in history, art history, anthropology, and museum studies.
Museum News

Let's cheer, then, the arrival of Gail Anderson's Reinventing the Museum which delves back almost a century to cull a series of erudite and enlightening articles. . . . I found so much to admire and enjoy in this book. . . . The museum can embrace differences, find commonalities, allow freedom, provide structure. At risk of sounding trite, I would say firmly. . . this book tells you how!

This is an enjoyable and informative selection of essays, and as an historical perspective on North American museology it has much to commend it. . . Reinventing the Museum is a very useful compendium of papers for anyone seeking an insight into the ways in which museums in North America have changed values, attitudes and practices.
Journal Of The Society Of Archivists

Reinventing the Museum is an excellent collection of 34 provocative articles divided into five areas of concern among museums. . . . I heartily recommend this volume to all museums, historical societies, and collegiate history programs because of the 'big picture' issues.
The Annals Of Iowa

Gail Anderson has assembled a valuable anthology by reminding us that not only John Cotton Dana, but also such important figures as Alma Wittlin and Theodore Low (among others) have contributed significantly in the past century to the discussion of the purposes of the museum.
George E. Hein, Lesley University; Visitor Studies Today

This book is an excellent starting point for institutions, and those interested in the future of those institutions, to address the problems posed by the high expectations fo the communities they serve.