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Superstar Museums: An Economic Analysis


  • Bruno Frey


Superstar museums are characterized by (1) great prominence among tourists and world fame among the general population; (2) a large number of visitors; (3) a collection of generally known painters and individual paintings; (4) an exceptional architecture; and (5) a large role of commercialization, including a substantial impact on the local economy. The superstar phenomenon is caused by factors both on the demand and the supply side of the market. Superstar museums are forced to offer “total experience” to the visitors; they have to relate to events in history, technology, politics, films and TV, and they have to provide for everything from education, food, gifts, shopping to entertainment. The development of superstar status strongly affects museum policy. The strategic orientation emphasizes visitors' demands; the organization has to be decentralized into processes each devoted to particular segments of visitors, to special exhibitions or support activities. There are also major consequences for human resource management, in particular, relating to flexibility and staff composition of paid employees and volunteers. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Frey, 1998. "Superstar Museums: An Economic Analysis," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 22(2), pages 113-125, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:22:y:1998:i:2:p:113-125
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1007501918099

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre-Michel Menger, 1996. "Economics of the arts: selected essays," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1655, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Johnson, Peter, 1995. "Cultural Economics and Museum Behaviour: A Comment," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 42(4), pages 465-466, November.
    3. John W. O'Hagan, 1995. "National Museums: To Charge or not to charge?," Economics Policy Papers 952, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    4. Throsby, David, 1994. "The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-29, March.
    5. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Cultural Economics and Museum Behaviour," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 41(3), pages 325-335, August.
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