Synopses & Reviews
With the development of institutions displaying natural science, history, and art in the late 19th century came the debates over the role of these museum in society. This anthology collects 50 of the most important writings on museum philosophy dating from this formative period, written by many of the American and European founders of the field. Genoways and Andrei contextualize these pieces with a series of introductions showing how the museum field developed within the social environment of the era. For those interested in museum history and philosophy or cultural history, this is an essential resource.
Museum Origins: Readings in Early Museum History and Philosophy/ offers a compelling assortment of writings by early luminaries in the museum administration field…. In the aggregate, these writings demonstrate the theoretical basis for museums as important cultural and educational institutions, yet individually they tend to address the practical, ground-level explorations at the heart of all cultural and scientific studies. In any case, the books editors have compiled an indispensable sourcebook for those wanting to become acquainted with the museums transition from an institution of sensational curiosities to one of scientific rigor and social virtue. - Bradley J. Wiles, The American Archivist
“Museum Origins is a welcome addition to the museological literature, providing mostly short excerpts of both well-known and obscure writings from a crucial period in museum history. … For readers interested in museum history there are delightful rewards in browsing Museum Origins as a starting point for exploration.”
-George Hein, Visitor Studies
This anthology collects 50 of the most important writings on museum philosophy dating from the formative period of the profession, written by many of the American and European founders of the field, with contextualizing introductions by the editors.
About the Author
Hugh H. Genoways is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska State Museum, former editor of the journals Collections and Current Mammology, and past president of American Society of Mammologists. Mary Anne Andrei is Lecturer, Department of History, University of Virginia and a specialist in the history of science. Genoways and Andrei are the founding editors of the journal Museum History.