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A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum (Public History in Historical Perspective) Paperback – July 15, 2013
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"A Living Exhibition offers new insight into the workings of the Smithsonian Institution, putting it into the context of the history of ideas. William Walker provides a new coherence to the institution's history, making sense of its recent decades as a part of a century-long debate over the proper balance of universalism and specificity."―Steven Lubar, coauthor of Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian
"Walker's exploration of the Smithsonian's attempts to balance universality and specificity allow for an insightful discussion of the current debates engaging museum professionals today. Recommended."―Choice
"William Walker's excellent new book offers an important narrative. . . . His compelling description of the complexities and rewards of representing multiculturalism is the important accomplishment of this book, one that readers of ethnic, cultural, and museum studies as well as historians will find as necessary reading."―Journal of American History
"Walker's analysis contributes ably to the literature on the intersection of consensus and conflict and of the official and the vernacular, demonstrating how cultural pluralism and diversity have been and still are negotiated in real space in American life."―Indiana Magazine of History
"Walker's book is a welcome addition to a small but growing literature on our national museum."―American Historical Review
"With an eye for detail and for a good story, Walker makes connections with contemporary popular culture, political change, and social context, and in doing so provides a new understanding of the road the Smithsonian traveled towards those controversial exhibitions that attracted so much comment at the end of the century. . . . A Living Exhibition is a considerable achievement."―Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
About the Author
William S. Walker is assistant professor of history, Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta.