The Futurist Stance of Historical Societies: An analysis of position statements

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Historical societies are not known for their proactive stance. In the public perception they are retrospective, often parochial and adverse to change. The advent of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s has made these societies more visible and more accessible to a non-local audience. The historical societies have responded by developing position statements to market their “services.” To project a sense of agency, many societies draw on phrases such as “preserving the past for the future,” signalling a vision. This paper surveys the futurist stance embodied in position statements and explores their implications for the underlying ideologies of the historical societies. The investigation reveals a discrepancy between the mission statements and the progressive stance of the “tagline.” This story of futurist positioning is a cautionary tale for any arts industry tempted to jump on a bandwagon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-15
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Arts Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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