Museum professionals, like most people, dislike being the focus of criticism, yet many have recently found themselves in this predicament over exhibits focusing on the histories of major social confl icts. An especially tense issue for both Japanese and American museums has been treatment of World War II, particularly how to portray the motives, policies, and conduct of their own governments during the war. Curators have not always been prepared for the intense criticism and for the charge that differences of opinion are caused by a clash of irreconcilable ideologies, only one of which is valid. Japanese and American museums have deployed similar strategies-some effective, some self-defeating-for meeting those challenges. Neither has found ideal solutions, although some approaches, such as presenting multiple points of view and providing opportunities for interaction, seem to hold greater promise than others.

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