Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929



By Carl P. Russell.

During the past ten years a new movement has made itself felt among museum workers. Ideals and objectives for museums have changed and it is recognized that “the worth of a museum is in its use.”

Until quite recently the literature on the founding and management of museums was limited to the classic paper by George Brown Goode on the principles of museum administration which was published in the 90’s. Now, as we all know, a great army of workers are constantly contributing ideas and the museum movement advances with an impetus that comes from public interest. National parks, fortunately, have been caught in the current of museum progress and are championed by a number of visual education specialists who are determined that park museums shall occupy the place that exists for them.

We, as park officers, are challenged to meet our obligations in our accepted field of public service, and to qualify to the point of properly employing the museum–a most important agent in visual education–in reaching our designated goal.

Before we can expect to properly utilize the medium of the museum we must know something of it possibilities. No one man knows exactly what the possibilities of a national park museum are, nor does he know all about how it should be managed so as to most efficiently serve its purpose. In fact it is reasonable to say that experience has not yet developed this knowledge in any group of men. It is a part of the problem that we are all working on. But ideas are accumulating and we should be on the alert to collect such ideas just as we collect museum objects.

The papers to be read today will present our original ideas on park museum planning and with our ideas will come the ideas of some of those designated workers who have contributed to modern museum literature.

Questions to be answered in today’s discussion may be represented by the following:

In the park where no museum collections exist what is the first step to take?

What shall be collected?

How can the interest of ether park employees be stimulated?

Who, outside of parks, can be expected to help?

How should the museum building be constructed so as to best serve its purpose?

What will be the organization of exhibits?

How will exhibited objects be installed?

What are the principles of labeling?

How should copy for labels be prepared?

How should the labels themselves be prepared?

What are the principles of label display?

How will study collections and surplus objects be stored?


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