Museums and Their Visitors

Historic Relationship

Authored by: Samuel J. Redman

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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The makeup of the museum visitor is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of museum history for historians to uncover. Historians of museums have often noted that before the field of Visitor Studies grew to prominence, museums often envisioned their audiences as nameless, faceless masses. Historians have either painted this public as composed of members of the privileged elite or as those receptive to being shaped by the elite cultural institutions. This entry examines how the museum visitor has been discussed by both museum professionals and historians of museums in the nineteenth and twentieth century United States.

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