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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Visitors outside the National Museum (now the Arts and Industries Building), about 1900Visitors outside the National Museum (now the Arts and Industries Building), about 1900

The belief that museums could improve the lives of ordinary people and make them better citizens guided Smithsonian exhibits and collections at the turn of the twentieth century. In the National Museum's 1890 report, George Brown Goode, director from 1881 to 1896, proclaimed that museums were "not intended for the few, but for the enlightenment and education of the masses."

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