Museums Matter In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum

ISBN-10: 022610091X

ISBN-13: 9780226100913

Edition: 2013

Authors: James Cuno

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Description:

The concept of an encyclopedic museum was born of the Enlightenment, a manifestation of society’s growing belief that the spread of knowledge and the promotion of intellectual inquiry were crucial to human development and the future of a rational society. But in recent years, museums have been under attack, with critics arguing that they are little more than relics and promoters of imperialism. Could it be that the encyclopedic museum has outlived its usefulness?With Museums Matter, James Cuno, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, replies with a resounding “No!” He takes us on a brief tour of the modern museum, from the creation of the British Museum—the archetypal encyclopedic collection—to the present, when major museums host millions of visitors annually and play a major role in the cultural lives of their cities. Along the way, Cuno acknowledges the legitimate questions about the role of museums in nation-building and imperialism, but he argues strenuously that even a truly national museum like the Louvre can’t help but open visitors’ eyes and minds to the wide diversity of world cultures and the stunning art that is our common heritage. Engaging with thinkers such as Edward Said and Martha Nussbaum, and drawing on examples from the politics of India to the destruction of the Bramiyan Buddhas to the history of trade and travel, Cuno makes a case for the encyclopedic museum as a truly cosmopolitan institution, promoting tolerance, understanding, and a shared sense of history—values that are essential in our ever more globalized age.Powerful, passionate, and to the point, Museums Matter is the product of a lifetime of working in and thinking about museums; no museumgoer should miss it.
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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 9/3/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 160
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

James Cuno is the president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. He served as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2004 until 2011. He is the author of Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage, coauthor of The Modern Wing: Renzo Piano and the Art Institute of Chicago, and coauthor and editor of Whose Culture? The Promise of Museums and the Debate over Antiquities and Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust.  

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Enlightenment Museum
The Discursive Museum
The Cosmopolitan Museum
The Imperial Museum
Epilogue
Notes
Index
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