In the course of this enquiry I found that much more had been done than I had been aware of, when I first published the Essay. The poverty and misery arising from a too rapid increase of population had been distinctly seen, and the most violent remedies proposed, so long ago as the times of Plato and Aristotle. And of late years the subject has been treated in such a manner by some of the French Economists; occasionally by Montesquieu, and, among our own writers, by Dr. Franklin, Sir James Stewart, Mr. Arthur Young, and Mr. Townsend, as to create a natural surprise that it had not excited more of the public attention.
Working transparently, museums must now move beyond mere representations of evidence to demonstrate explicitly how knowledge is developed, shared, or revisited. Making evident the gaps or omissions in our knowledge, identifying marginal or absent voices, helps audiences to explore with confidence and promotes engagement through nuance, perspective, and diversity. Authoritativeness has not enhanced cultural institutions, but authenticity has. Leveraging – and sharing – authenticity, museums must speak from multiple points of view, encouraging stakeholder and audience participation, even while bolstering scholarship. In assisting audiences to better understand how the past informs the present, how patterns and similarities can be observed in the seeming diversity and idiosyncrasies of history, museums can transcend institutionalism or parochialism to demystify a shared humanity in a singular world.