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Neither Public Nor Private: The Hybridization of Museums


  • J. Schuster


This paper takes a preliminary look at the hybridization of museums – the creation of a variety of mixed forms of governance incorporating both public and private governing authorities. Using data from three national surveys of American museums, the analysis documents the mix of types of governing authority and demonstrates how this mix varies across location, over time, and by museum type. The paper then estimates the extent of hybridization using several different indicators and speculates about its implications. The United States offers a particularly informative case because the general view is that American museums are (1) either public or private and (2) predominately private. While the second part of this view may still be a useful characterization of American museums, the first is no longer a particularly helpful way of understanding American museums, or, by extension, other cultural institutions, American or not. It is increasingly necessary to view cultural institutions through the lens of hybridization rather than privatization in order to improve our ability to document and predict their institutional behavior. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • J. Schuster, 1998. "Neither Public Nor Private: The Hybridization of Museums," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 22(2), pages 127-150, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:22:y:1998:i:2:p:127-150
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1007553902169

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    Cited by:

    1. Frey, Bruno S. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Economics of Museums," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
    2. Trilce Navarrete, 2013. "Museums," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Digital Creative Economy, chapter 29, pages 330-343 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "Public versus private ownership: Quantity contracts and the allocation of investment tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 258-268, April.
    4. Emmanuel Coblence & Valérie Sabatier, 2014. "Articulating Growth and Cultural Innovation in Art Museums : The Louvre's Business Model Revision," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-01346974, HAL.
    5. Bertacchini, Enrico & Dalle Nogare, Chiara, 2014. "Public provision vs. outsourcing of cultural services: Evidence from Italian cities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 168-182.
    6. Muzychuk, V. & Khaunina, E., 2015. "Support Mechanisms for Museums in the Economic Crisis (the Example of Major Museums of Europe and Russia)," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 132-161.
    7. Dick Netzer, 2011. "Non-profit Organizations," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 42 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Victor Fernández-Blanco & Juan Prieto-Rodríguez, 2011. "Museums," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 40 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. João Coelho & Carlos Santos, 2008. "The Budgeting of Portuguese Public Museums: a dynamic panel data analysis," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 032008, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.


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