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Museum Matters

What should the purpose of a museum be?

According to Stephen E. Weil, emeritus senior scholar at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, instead of being about something, museums should be for somebody. In his article about the transformation of American museums, Weil pinpoints two major currents for change that aided in this shift to a visitor centered approach…

The first major current for change according to Weil:

The museum is an instrument for social change!

By viewing the museum as an instrument for social change, as opposed to a repository for collections that never see the light of day, museums are given a new sense of purpose. This new sense of purpose is centered around the idea that education is the primary purpose of a museum. Although the early 20th century concept of a warehouse full of old, dusty, remarkable objects may seem nice in a traditional and safe way…

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