American History And Culture Museums Finding Innovative Ways To Attract Visitors

01/27/11 3:52PM By Jane Lindholm, Samantha Fields
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AP/Toby Talbot
The Shelburne Museum
Americana museums exist in many forms and many sizes across the country, from local historical societies to the Shelburne Museum to the Smithsonian in Washington. But attendance and support of history and cultural museums peaked in the 1970s. Carl Nold, president and CEO of Historic New England and immediate past chairman of the American Association of Museums, and Stephan Jost, outgoing director of the Shelburne Museum say there are many reasons why any Americana museums are having trouble attracting visitors. Among those reasons: our increasingly busy lives, a decline in history education, and the often static collections at history museums. But many museums are taking risks, shaking things up, and finding new ways to make history feel more contemporary and relevant in order to draw new visitors.

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