As the number of museums in the United States has grown to more than 6500 in this century, the museum profession has experienced similar growth. In addition to academic training and accreditation programmes in the field, an expanding body of literature on museum history, philosophy, and functions has evolved, little of which has received the critical attention it deserves. This reference volume serves as an up-to-date guide to this wealth of literature, identifying and evaluating works that introduce the general reader, the museum studies student, and the beginning professional to the history, philosophy, and functions of museums. The volume presents a series of informative, historical outlines and critical bibliographic essays on all aspects of museum history, philosophy, and functions. Contributors treat such subjects as art museums, natural history museums, science and technology museums, history museums, collections, exhibition, education and interpretation, and the public and museums. Each chapter consists of an introductory historical narrative, a survey of sources, and a bibliographic checklist that contains cited and additional sources.
A set of appendices include a geographically organized bibliography of museum directories, a guide to archives and special collections, and a selective list of museum-related periodicals. The book concludes with a comprehensive general subject index. This work will be an important reference tool for museum professionals and cultural historians, as well as for courses in museum studies. It will also be a valuable addition to both academic and public libraries.