Heritage Museums and the Public

  • Steven Lubar
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_1203-2

Introduction

Museums are public institutions. The American Alliance of Museums Code of Ethics states that “for museums, public service is paramount.” But there is continuing and useful debate about how public service – indeed how the public – should be defined; what the public might require, demand, or need; and what the museum might offer. How might museums balance the needs of general and specific publics? How should museums balance their responsibility to the immediate needs of the public today and those of future publics?

Museums have long been public institutions, but the nature of their interaction with the public has changed. Victorian museums often aimed at “edifying” the masses. In the early twentieth century, many museums saw their role as providing training for citizenship. Exposure to the best that civilization had to offer, the thought went, would improve museum visitors, making them better people and better citizens. Toward the end of the twentieth century, many museums...

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References

  1. Dana, J.C. 1917. The new museum. Woodstock: The Elm Tree Press.Google Scholar
  2. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, B. 2012. From ethnology to heritage: The role of the museum. In Museum studies: An anthology of contexts, ed. B. Messias Carbonell, 2nd ed. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Simon, N. 2010. The participatory museum. Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0.Google Scholar
  4. Weil, Stephen E. 1999. From being about something to being for somebody: The ongoing transformation of the American museum. Daedalus 128 (3): 229–258.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural HeritageBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Thanik Lertcharnrit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologySilpakorn UniversityBangkokThailand