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The Echtheit: Children’s Museums of the future.

The link to this paper is attached below and was written in 2008 for Hands-On Europe the international children’s museum conference held in Germany.

In the face of rising attendance in children’s museums and the numbers of planned new ones, suggesting that we are producing a stale and predictable product may come as a surprising statement for some. So let us explore the evolving state of children’s museums to see if we can ascertain what might be the next successful mutation. As we do that, let us also remind ourselves that operating children’s museums are not static and that new paradigms can probably be glimpsed within elements of existing institutions.I believe that progressive change can be seen in some museums already. Rather than looking for an entirely new paradigm, I believe we must return to philosophical basics and review each museum against its mission and then consider writing a more accurate and reasonable one rather than the common mélange of unfocused aspirations. It is time to be more frank with ourselves and our institutions. I will attempt to consider some basics that can serve as a barometer with which to measure change.”

This paper is the organic successor to many previous writings on Children’s Museums including, “The Molting of the Children’s Museum in GURIAN, E. H. (2006)


Civilizing the Museum: The Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian, Cambridge, England, Routledge.