Museums in the Second World War

Museums in the Second World War Curators, Culture and Change - Routledge Studies in Modern History

Paperback (30 Jun 2020)

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Publisher's Synopsis

Exploring the role of museums, galleries and curators during the upheaval of the Second World War, this book challenges the accepted view of a hiatus in museum services during the conflict and its immediate aftermath. Instead it argues that new thinking in the 1930s was realised in a number of promising initiatives during the war only to fail during the fragmented post-war recovery. Based on new research including interviews with retired museum staff, letters, diaries, museum archives and government records, this study reveals a complex picture of both innovation and inertia.

At the outbreak of war precious objects were stored away and staff numbers reduced, but although many museums were closed, others successfully campaigned to remain open. By providing innovative modern exhibitions and education initiatives they became popular and valued venues for the public. After the war, however, museums returned to their more traditional, collections-centred approach and failed to negotiate the public funding needed for reconstruction based on this narrower view of their role. Hence, in the longer term, the destruction and economic and social consequences of the conflict served to delay aspirations for reconstruction until the 1960s. Through this lens, the history of the museum in the mid-twentieth century appears as one shaped by the effects of war but equally determined by the input of curators, audiences and the state. The museum thus emerges not as an isolated institution concerned only with presenting the past but as a product of the changing conflicts and cultures within society.

About the Publisher

Routledge

Routledge

Routledge is the world's leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences. We publish thousands of books and journals each year, serving scholars, instructors, and professional communities worldwide. Our current publishing programme encompasses groundbreaking textbooks and premier, peer-reviewed research in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Built Environment. We have partnered with many of the most influential societies and academic bodies to publish their journals and book series. Readers can access tens of thousands of print and e-books from our extensive catalogue of titles. Routledge is a member of Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.

Book information

ISBN: 9780367595043
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Imprint: Routledge
Pub date:
DEWEY: 069.09044
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 478g
Height: 155mm
Width: 234mm
Spine width: 26mm