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Cover for The Museum in Transition

The Museum in Transition

A Philosophical Perspective

Hilde S. Hein


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During the past thirty years, museums of all kinds have tried to become more responsive to the interests of a diverse public. With exhibitions becoming people-centered, idea-oriented, and contextualized, the boundaries between museums and the “real” world are eroding. Setting the transition from object-centered to story-centered exhibitions in a philosophical framework, Hilde S. Hein contends that glorifying the museum experience at the expense of objects deflects the museum's educative, ethical, and aesthetic roles. Referring to institutions ranging from art museums to theme parks, she shows how deployment has replaced amassing as a goal and discusses how museums now actively shape and create values.

Smithsonian Books, 9781560983965, 220pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2000

About the Author

Hilde S. Hein is an associate professor emerita of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross and the author of The Exploratorium: The Museum as Laboratory.