Reflecting critically on the current condition of museums and their possible futures, Stephen E. Weil argues that cultural institutions need to free themselves from a fascination with technique and process to concentrate more intently on purpose. He contends that to succeed, or merely survive, a museum must be able to project clear goals that its supporting community finds of value and must demonstrate its competence to achieve those goals on a sustainable basis.
“With this collection of essays and addresses, Stephen Weil proves yet again that he is one of the most versatile and capable minds in the museum world. . . . Read [A Cabinet of Curiosities] from front to back, back to front, or inside out—it really makes no difference. The important thing is to encounter and savor the ideas and insights found in every essay. . . . Weil [is] a masterful and convincing advocate of the arts in these times of political and economic instability.”—Kenneth L. Ames, Museum News
“Weil is one of the museum world's most valuable players. . . . You'll find more common sense, more stimulating ideas, and more insights here than in most books on the art scene. This is a wake-up call.”—Milton Esterow, ARTNews
“A Cabinet of Curiosities is an important compilation of the thoughts of a cogent critical museologist. It should be carefully read and reread by anyone who is concerned with the survival of museums.”—Muse