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Museums and Communities

The Politics of Public Culture

Ivan Karp (Editor), Christine Mullen Kreamer (Editor), Steven Levine (Editor)


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Contributors to this volume examine and illustrate struggles and collaborations among museums, festivals, tourism, and historic preservation projects and the communities they represent and serve. Essays include the role of museums in civil society, the history of African-American collections, and experiments with museum-community dialogue about the design of a multicultural society.

Praise For Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture

“This companion volume to Exhibiting Cultures contains a series of essays that illustrate both the struggles and the collaborations between museums and the communities they aim to serve. . . . The range of voices heard to great effect in the preceding book continue to speak out here. Strongly recommended.”—Library Journal

“[The editors] present a rich variety of thought-provoking ideas about the condition and possibilities of museums. The book challenges museum specialists to reassess their practices to ensure the relevance of museums in a changing world and offers valuable case studies of the kinds of problems and successes involved in making such changes.”—Journal of American History

“With a variety of case studies and perspectives in the spirit of interdisciplinary study, Museums and Communities is a provocative and fascinating collection, at once profound and concrete.”—American Book Review

Smithsonian Books, 9781560981893, 624pp.

Publication Date: May 17, 1992

About the Author

Ivan Karp is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Liberal Arts at Emory University and director of the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship.

Christine Mullen Kreamer
is an art historian working in Vietnam and an exhibit developer for the “African Voices” project at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Steven D. Lavine
is the president of the California Institute of the Arts.