ABOUT THIS BOOK
During the last half of the nineteenth century, many of the country's most celebrated museums were built. In this original and daring study, Steven Conn argues that Americans, endowed with the belief that knowledge resided in objects themselves, built these institutions with the confidence that they could collect, organize, and display the sum of the world's knowledge. Conn discovers how museums gave definition to different bodies of knowledge and how these various museums helped to shape America's intellectual history.
"Conn is an enthusiastic advocate for his subject, an appealing thinker, an imaginative researcher, a scholar at ease with theory and with empirical evidence." —Ann Fabian, Reviews in American History
"Steven Conn's masterly study of late-nineteenth century American museums transports the reader to a strange and wonderful intellectual universe. . . . At the end of the day, Conn reminds us, objects still have the power to fascinate, attract, evoke, and, in the right context, explain." —Christopher Clarke-Hazlett, Journal of American History