Exhibiting Dilemmas: Issues of Representation at the Smithsonian

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ISBN 13: 1560984449

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Product Description

In twelve essays on such diverse Smithsonian Institution holdings as the Hope Diamond, the Wright Flyer, wooden Zuni carvings, and the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth lunch counter that became a symbol of the Civil Rights movement, Exhibiting Dilemmas explores a wide range of social, political, and ethical questions faced by museum curators in their roles as custodians of culture.

Focusing on the challenges posed by the transformation of exhibitions from object-driven “cabinets of curiosities” to idea-driven sources of education and entertainment, the contributors—all Smithsonian staff members—provide a lively and sometimes provocative discussion of the increasingly complex enterprise of acquiring and displaying objects in a museum setting.

Author Information

Amy Henderson and Adrienne L. Kaeppler
AMY HENDERSON, a cultural historian at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, is the author of On the Air: Pioneers of American Broadcasting and coauthor of Red, Hot, & Blue: A Smithsonian Salute to the American Musical. ADRIENNE L. KAEPPLER is curator of oceanic ethnology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the author, most recently, of Oceanic Art.

Review Quotes

This book is a courageous and candid affirmation of the educational and interpretive responsibilities of history museums. . . . The authors provide eloquent recognition of the need to negotiate a popular yet thoroughly professional path between history and memory, celebration, and commemoration.
—Michael Kammen
A cultural benchmark. . . . Each [contributor] faces the challenge of bringing an institution founded on the Eurocentric values and colonialist viewpoints of the nineteenth century into line with the values and perspectives of our present multicultural society.
—Kansas City Star

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