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By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Traditionally, the key function of museums and libraries has been the management and preservation of the collections they maintain, as well as the access of those collections to the public. Not much has changed in the important classical role of these enduring institutions, but innovations providing a much greater emphasis on public engagement and accessibility are now being embraced. This pivotal shift goes back to the 1980s when a new trend of perceived pork barrel cleansing brought on by the recession in the United States had stemmed previously generous funding. Museums and libraries were forced to reevaluate themselves and their role in communities. In redefining themselves as learning hubs, museums and libraries have been rewarded not only by reinvigorated government allocations, but by the resounding support of the public with ever increasing demand for their facilities. In the context of the information age, now more than ever museums and libraries are competing for people’s time and attention and seek to engage and broaden their prospective audience by adopting an education model over a strict conservation/repository model. This change in focus toward public engagement has continued to give rise to approaches toward administration, education, technology integration, community outreach, and new ways for these unique institutions to develop a professional staff.

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