Irrational exuberance: calculating the total number of museums in the United States.
Museums have been present in the United States since the late 1700's. Now that the twenty-first century has started, a definite total for the number of museums in the United States needs to be determined. Without this total the museum community will not be able to realize its full potential and importance. By determining the total, the museum community can work together to strengthen the identity and focus of the museum field in the United States. This study examines museums in 100 cities. Socioeconomic factors of the cities also are examined to assist in calculating a total number of museums in the United States. Based on these data, the total number of museums in the United States is between 16,000 and 20,000. The results are examined and recommendations for the field are made.