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“Can we use objects from the past and present to envision our future?”

“Can we use objects from the past and present to envision our future?”

In her Summer 2011 article in History News Rainey Tisdale asks, “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?“. Lynne Ireland responds with a resounding “yes” but shares some corollary questions that fuel her institution’s strategic planning discussions as they address the very concrete challenges that surround this issue.

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“Are we here to serve the stuff or the people?”

“Are we here to serve the stuff or the people?”

In her Summer 2011 article in History News Rainey Tisdale asks, “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?“. David Crosson responds and suggests we are asking the wrong question and that the underlying issue is one of fundamental values, not one of resources or means.

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An Ideal World: A Tiered System for our Collections

An Ideal World: A Tiered System for our Collections

In her Summer 2011 article in History News Rainey Tisdale asks, “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?“. Trevor Jones reacts by describing his ideal world — one in which there would be a tiered system for our collections.

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“Wouldn’t it just make people feel?”

“Wouldn’t it just make people feel?”

In her Summer 2011 article in History News Rainey Tisdale asks, “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?“. Ron Potvin shares his gut reactions and ties his reflections to an exhibition he recently visited.

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Are Collections Old Bones or New Ideas?

Are Collections Old Bones or New Ideas?

In her Summer 2011 article in History News Rainey Tisdale asks, “Do History Museums Still Need Objects?“. Linda Norris offers a reply: “We absolutely still need objects—but we need to experiment more broadly, be less rigid, and encourage our communities to view our collections in new ways …”

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Who Are Museums For?

Who Are Museums For?

Eight months working with Ukrainian museums as a Fulbright Scholar led me to consider critical questions about my work with history museums here in the United States. As I explored museums in this emerging post-Soviet nation I began to think about the difficulties in defining heroes and villains, the struggle between telling collective and individual stories, and the challenges of working together in a country where suspicion and mistrust were the norm for decades.

Are museums really for everyone? Should they be? How can museums balance collective and individual stories? Join the conversation!

Turning Curios Into Collections

Turning Curios Into Collections

Museums are commonly offered private artifact collections with little provenience data – accurate information on their origins and therefore ownership. This poses a problem for museums that seek to care for archaeological objects, and to interpret the history they reflect.

In considering the acquisition of collections with uncertain ownership, how can museums balance the need to maintain professional standards with the need to care for unique, often irreplaceable objects? Should museums fill their shelves with poorly provenienced antiquities? What circumstances justify collecting such objects? Join the conversation!

Helping History Organizations Achieve National Standards One StEP at a Time

Helping History Organizations Achieve National Standards One StEP at a Time

With StEPs, history organizations now have specific recommendations for meeting national standards. This is the missing link that the field has been asking for. It answers the question: How do we know when an organization is meeting a standard?