Title Reviewed:
A Bibliography on Historical Organization Practices: Interpretation.

Author Reviewed:
Rosemary S. Reese; Frederick L. Rath, Jr.,; Merrilyn Rogers O'Connell

Brian Leigh Dunnigan


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 382-382

Article Type:
Book Review

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A Bibliography on Historical Organization Practices: Interpretation. Compiled by Rosemary S. Reese; edited by Frederick L. Rath, Jr., and Merrilyn Rogers O'Connell. (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1978. Pp. ix, 90. Appendix, index. $10.00.)

This slim volume, the third of the American Association for State and Local History's Bibliography on Historical Organization Practices, presents a useful compilation of the literature on museum interpretation. Interpretation, according to the preface by editors Frederick L. Rath and Merrilyn Rogers O'Connell, is the "way in which a museum uses its resources to carry out its educational function …. " In other words, it is the way in which a museum presents its message to the public.

Although the compiler states several times that this bibliography is not comprehensive, the literature of the field is adequately covered. What results is a well-organized volume that will be of great use to anyone involved in the museum profession.

The bibliography proper is divided into six major sections preceded by a selected "Basic Reference Shelf that will provide anyone with a good working library. Chapters follow on the role of interpretation, visitor surveys, museum programs, museums and schools, exhibits and museums in the media age. Entries are annotated when their contents are not immediately apparent. Filmed and taped materials are included in the listings.

The book contains further helpful information. The first chapter is devoted to a survey of the major national and international museum organizations and a summary of their purposes, professional services, publications, and training programs. Smaller, specialized organizations are noted at the ends of the appropriate sections of the bibliography. An appendix lists relevant subscription information on all periodicals cited. This will be found especially helpful by those working in small museums without ready access to libraries comprehensive enough to include professional museum journals in their collections.

The volume is easy to use and is further enhanced by a detailed index. It is a good, practical guide that belongs on the shelf of anyone in any way involved in the operation of a museum.

Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Historic Fort Wayne, Inc., Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.