The Development of Museums

A. The conviction that historical relics provide infallible testimony about the past is rooted in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when science was regarded as objective and value free. As one writer observes: ‘Although it is now evident that artifacts are as easily altered as chronicles, public faith in their veracity endures: a tangible relic seems ipso facto real! Such conviction was, until recently, reflected in museum displays. Q31 Museums used to look — and some still do — much like storage rooms of objects packed together in showcases: good for scholars who wanted to study the subtle differences in design, but not for the ordinary visitor. to whom It all looked alike. Similarly, the information accompanying the objects often made little sense to the lay visitor. The content and format of explanations dated back to a time when the museum was the exclusive domain of the scientific researcher.

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