Case #1628.0

Museums in the United States at the Turn of the Millennium: An Industry Note

Publication Date: October 01, 2001
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This note, commissioned for the Museum Trustee Association and meant as a companion for the cases on the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (1625.0) and the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (1629.0), provides an overview of trends in the world of U.S. museums over the last quarter of the 20th century. It focuses specifically on the period's unprecedented growth--in museum attendance, in budget sizes, in the form of bigger and more expensive programs, in new and expanded facilities, and in the sheer number of organizations. The note frames issues that are given form in the Chicago and Tampa cases--issues that broadly can be classed as the challenges of sustainability. The note can either be used in conjunction with the museum cases or as a definitive reference for those concerned with trends in museum management. Noting that museum attendance in the United States topped one billion visits for the first time, it frames the following question for those who care about museums: As the twenty-first century unfolds, with the pace of life continuing to accelerate, an uncertain short term economic future, and shifts in the composition of the US population, do the trends of growth and change set in motion in the most recent decades continue to be the right directions to take?

Other Details

Case Author:
Jane Preston
Faculty Lead:
Christine Letts
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Museum Trustees Association