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This book uses the study of early museums to cast light on modern museum philosophies. At a time when many contemporary institutions are suffering from a sense of cultural irrelevance and are increasingly looking to computer technology to attract a younger audience, Arnold argues that a return to the sense of wonder that inspired the first collections is the best way to reinvigorate today's museums. Through its analysis of both historical and contemporary museum philosophies, this book will appeal to students of collecting, as well as anyone with an interest in the presentation of historical artifacts to a modern audience.