Cover for LEON: History Museums in the United States: A Critical Assessment

History Museums in the United States

A Critical Assessment

Every year 100 million visitors tour historic houses and re-created villages, examine museum artifacts, and walk through battlefields. But what do they learn? What version of the past are history museums offering to the public? And how well do these institutions reflect the latest historical scholarship?

Fifteen scholars and museum staff members here provide the first critical assessment of American history museums, a vital arena for shaping popular historical consciousness. They consider the form and content of exhibits, ranging from Gettysburg to Disney World. They also examine the social and political contexts on which museums operate.


"This anthology makes an important contribution to the establishment of criteria for the review of history museum exhibits. The authors take museum exhibits seriously, and their work should be read by museum professionals as well as by the academic historians who often collaborate with them."--David Glassberg, Director of the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Warren Leon is director of interpretation at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Roy Rosenzweig is associate professor of history and director of the oral history program at George Mason University.

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