Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art Education

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Koplin


The history of the art museum's growth in America is presented in this thesis to place the development of the public art museum in the proper context. The museum has absorbed its sense of worth and power from the people who shaped its policy and believed in its ability to accomplish positive feats. Its growth as a force in the art world was subtle and studied, but amazingly complete. The museum which doubts its ability to persuade, convince, educate and entertain does not long survive. Examining the people and their attitudes with whom the museums had the most contact and noting its response to the world in which it has operated, the parallels are strikingly similar. The museum is strong because groups contributed to its growth and maturity; its weaknesses are those in which the three factions were also less effective. There are no hard and fast truths to prove this theory -- but examination of its plausability is a valuable tool for understanding how the museum became such an important institution of our time.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Art Education Commons