Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum

Museums Matter In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum 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

  • Title: Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum
  • Author: James Cuno
  • ISBN: 9780226126777
  • Page: 480
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 than relics and proThe 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 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 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.

    One thought on “Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum”

    1. A rousing defense of cosmopolitanism, told through the development of the public museum. It's a defense of travel for all of us unable to afford the rigors of international movement. The enlightenment, encyclopedic collections as a base upon which the rich cultures, ideas, movements of the world can be appreciated. It puts to shame those of us who visit art museums to see what we like: it's an education, possibly the most essential for maintaining comprehensive human relations. A shot's taken at [...]

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