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NOTE OF INTRODUCTION
My interest in museums has been quite definite and intense for nearly twenty years. As I studied them, their work and the buildings which housed 'them and read what has been written concerning them, I concluded that, like the libraries of forty years ago, they were far less used than they should be; that they did not make much impression on the taste, manners or activities of those who visited them, and that they soon would be either entirely neglected or very greatly changed in content, intent and activities. The latter seemed to be quite the inevitable course, and still further study showed that certain changes, all making for greater usefulness, were well under way throughout the whole museum world.
As librarian of the Newark, N. J. Free Public Library I found I was able to assist in establishing, about eight years ago, what might be called a museum of museum experiments.
In 1914, five years after the founding of this Newark museum, I set down briefly, and printed, first in letters to the New York Times and later in the Newarker, the house organ of the Public Library, certain ideas upon museum construction, collections and management. These ideas then roughly formulated have, in the last three years, taken more definite form. Finally I decided to publish the results of my study, observation and experiments in a series of small volumes and to give them the general title of The New Museum. It seemed to us that the story of our experiments with the Newark Museum, a museum which we wished to make useful to the city as a quite definite educational enterprise, might be helpful to others, and that to set forth that story would be a useful experience for ourselves.
Here is No. 1 of The New Museum series.
J. C. Dana