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Looking Reality in the Eye

Museums are often stereotyped as dusty storage facilities for ancient artifacts considered important by a handful of scholars. Today there is an effort on the part of some museologists to reconsider the role and responsibilities of museums, art galleries, and science centers as social institutions in their communities. The articles in this collection were selected based on the authors' personal and institutional commitment to innovative social action and are an excellent starting point for discussions on what museums have been and what they are now. Some believe that museums are for important artifacts and must remain value-and agenda-free institutions, to avoid a potentially fatal morass of controversy and confrontation. Others suggest that museums are about more than artifacts and they must undertake successful civic engagement in order to survive and be a vital part of our social fabric, moving beyond education and entertainment to actively embrace socially relevant missions. Looking Reality in the Eye attempts to point the way toward a sustainable future for museums using case studies of institutions that have attempted to be socially responsible in different and unique ways.
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About the Author

Robert Janes has a PhD in archaeology from the University of Calgary. He was the president and chief executive officer of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary from 1989-2000. Gerald Conaty has a PhD from Simon Fraser University. He is the senior Curator of Ethnology at the Glenbow Museum and an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Calgary.

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