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Is well-being the purpose of museums?

John Falk has observed that museums have always enhanced personal, intellectual, social and physical well-being. In his thought-provoking book The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-being, he provides tangible suggestions of how museums can build on their success in supporting well-being, measure value, and adapt for the future.


John Falk’s definition of well-being is particularly relevant to museums—and his definition differs from some of the common ways the term is used elsewhere. However defined, the well-being (or wellbeing) of those we seek to serve demands our attention. And perhaps it should take a central role in how we think about a museum’s purpose and goals.


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