Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction: Museums and Society

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pp. 1-12

In the early twentieth century a new generation of museum reformers ushered in an institutional revolution that redefined the relationship between art, museums and industrial urban society in the United States. Determined to overturn the image of museums as elite storehouses of art, those curators...

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Chapter One: Progressive Connoisseurs: The Intellectual Origins of Education Reform in Museums

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pp. 13-48

In 1889, the Metropolitan Museum of Art moved toward a more democratic relationship with the people of New York City as it tried to become an accessible educational institution. The museum doubled its size by expanding into a new building wing, and its board of trustees both elected a new president...

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Chapter Two: The De Forest Faction's Progressive Museum Agenda

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pp. 49-87

In 1905, the Metropolitan Museum underwent an institutional revolution that reverberated throughout American museums. A new generation of trustees and museum professionals—Henry Watson Kent, Edward Robinson, Robert de Forest, and other like-minded progressive connoisseurs—replaced the old guard of museum leaders who believed that simply providing access...

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Chapter Three: The Educational Value of American Things: Balancing Usefulness and Connoisseurship

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pp. 88-121

Just as Robert de Forest placed the Metropolitan Museum of Art within broader Progressive Era social reform circles, Henry Watson Kent brought the museum into a network of educational institutions that aligned arts and industry. Instead of thinking about art museums as temples of spiritual uplift, progressive connoisseurs at the Metropolitan Museum, the Newark Museum,...

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Chapter Four: The Arts of Peace: World War I and Cultural Nationalism

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pp. 122-149

World War I had a profound impact on the progressive museum agenda and on the way art museums used American things to improve public taste. Robert de Forest seized on the war as an opportunity to disseminate his notions of cultural democracy, and he used his leadership positions at the Metropolitan Museum, the Sage Foundation and the American Federation of Arts...

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Chapter Five: The Art of Living: The American Wing and Public History

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pp. 150-184

The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled the American Wing of period room galleries in November 1924 with a lavish dedication ceremony, where museum trustees, architects and curators spoke about the patriotic and educational value of American decorative arts. "Our Museum," Robert de Forest proudly enthused, "is sounding a patriotic note." "We are honoring our fathers...

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Chapter Six: Americanism in Design: Industrial Arts and Museums

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pp. 185-223

In 1925 the New Yorker called Richard Bach "the man who "sold" Art to the United States without the United States ever knowing it." Since teaming up with Henry Watson Kent at the Metropolitan Museum in 1918, Bach had expanded the museum's educational outreach by building an extensive network of industrial manufacturers and retailers. The Metropolitan Museum's...

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Epilogue: Depression Modern: Institutional Sponsors and Progressive Legacies

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pp. 224-238

The Metropolitan Museum entered the 1930s with a reputation for making museums work for the people. As early as 1919, the Boston Evening Transcript had heralded the sea change in ideas about cultural democracy and museum pragmatism that would transpire at the Met during the 1920s. Progressive...

Notes

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pp. 239-272

Bibliography

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pp. 273-286

Index

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pp. 287-294

Acknowledgments

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pp. 295-296