Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

From the Director: A Golden Age?

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

From the Director: A Golden Age?

Article excerpt

Two years ago the New York Times proclaimed "a golden age of American museums." It noted ambitious building programs, spectacular exhibitions, and booming attendance records. Although it is more than a museum, the VHS is a good example of this phenomenon. Founded in 1831, it remained a relatively quiet, inward-looking research library for most of its history. But within the last decade alone, it has raised more than $50 million, tripled the size of its headquarters building, launched ambitious public programs statewide, and increased visitation tenfold.

Along with this prosperity, the Times also noted a proliferation of museums. By some estimates, the number more than doubled in the last quarter of the twentieth century. History museums accounted for a large percentage of the increase, from historic house museums to others that interpret a wide array of topics about the past.

For many history institutions it has hardly seemed like the golden age supposedly enjoyed by their peers. For some of them, the last decade brought declining visitation, a consequent loss of revenue, an erosion of endowments that were never robust to begin with, and increasing competition from other nonprofit institutions for funding. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.