The focus of this thesis is to investigate the problems and potential of anthropology in museums today. In doing so, I have attempted to highlight trends which have emerged in anthropological exhibitions on a world-wide perspective. In the discussion of this topic, it is necessary to take into account the changes which are emerging in museums in general, but this must be also done in relation to the role of anthropology in museums previously.
Most of the references are from United States research, Unfortunately, little has been published of the programmes in other countries. Wherever possible, though, examples from other countries have been used. Almost no information is available from communist countries, so this is one area of museums that has been totally neglected here.
In Australia there is also little published material on the role of anthropological exhibitions. From the limited literature available, it is evident that similar trends are emerging here as overseas. However, this may be a reflection of the fact that new approaches to anthropological exhibition are still at a very early stage in Australia. The earliest references are from the U.S. around the late 1950s. The predominance of literature on this subject by the mid-1970s indicates that these trends are a prominent feature of such programmes already overseas.