Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 31%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 75%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (20) from $5.90   
  • New (9) from $18.00   
  • Used (11) from $5.90   


Conn's study includes familiar places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Academy of Natural Sciences, but he also draws attention to forgotten ones, like the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, once the repository for objects from many turn-of-the-century world's fairs. What emerges from Conn's analysis is that museums of all kinds shared a belief that knowledge resided in the objects themselves. Using what Conn has termed "object-based epistemology," museums of the late nineteenth century were on the cutting edge of American intellectual life. By the first quarter of the twentieth century, however, museums had largely been replaced by research-oriented universities as places where new knowledge was produced. According to Conn, not only did this mean a change in the way knowledge was conceived, but also, and perhaps more importantly, who would have access to it.
Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Morris J. Vogel
Written with wit and grace, Steven Conn's ambitious study traces the history of various museums and examines the relationships between these institutions and their patrons, their competitors such as universities, and the broader economy.
Robert Rydell
In this original study, Steven Conn argues that museums were sites for working out pressing intellectual concerns about how knowledge should be organized and presented to the public. . . . This book will take its place alongside the best work in the field and will command attention by scholars in American and cultural studies.
Morris J. Vogel
Steven Conn's ambitious study traces the history of various museums and examines the relationships between these institutions and their patrons, their competitors such as uniersities, and the broader economy. Conn describes the self-confidnce of museum builders who believed that objects could speak for themselves and presents the dominance of an object-based epistemology as a moment in which museums could be central to intellectual life.
— Author of Cultural Connections
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226114934
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 314
  • Sales rank: 804,996
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Conn teaches History at The Ohio State University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Museums and the Late Victorian World 3
2 "Naked Eye Science": Museums and Natural History 32
3 Between Science and Art: Museums and the Development of Anthropology 75
4 The Philadelphia Commercial Museum: A Museum to Conquer the World 115
5 Objects and American History: The Museums of Henry Mercer and Henry Ford 151
6 From South Kensington to the Louvre: Art Museums and the Creation of Fine Art 192
7 1926: Of Fairs, Museums, and History 233
Notes 263
Index 295
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)