Show and Sell: Museums, Markets and the Making of Modern Edutainment
Victoria Cain

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Primary Discipline

History of Education
“Show and Sell: Museums, Markets and the Making of Modern Edutainment” uses the history of museums and museum display to investigate the evolving relationship between public science education, academic science and consumer capitalism between 1900 and 1940. This project will trace the evolution of the definitions and concepts of “science education” and “science entertainment” in scientific and popular culture in this period. It will determine when, how and why the practices of education and display in natural history museums changed over time and region. It will analyze the ways in which these definitions and changes were shaped by a complex network of values and aspirations, held together by a diverse group of actors competing to dominate both science education and museum work: research scientists, school teachers, museum directors, museum curators, preparators and artists, philanthropists, government, industry and the public itself. Finally, it will explore how American natural history museums influenced science education in these decades, inside and outside of their own halls. Ultimately, this project will illuminate the twinned development of science education and edutainment and explain how the public participated in this process – an important and timely project, in light of the expanding cultural domains and contemporary controversies surrounding these topics.
About Victoria Cain

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