I had linked to some new publications on line from the MetMuseum in a previous post, but today I actually started to read some that I downloaded.
They not only discuss the art (or the fashions/textiles) but they give the social/historical background of what is being shown. The one on 18th century costumes discusses the liberation of women, for example, and the one on the Manchu costumes discusses how they conquered China, and has a short section on how to make silk.
This is a lot better than the "here are important painting for you to see" stuff.
I don't know the Met (in NYC) but as a kid, we used to go to the Phila Art museum... not to see the paintings but to go to the Spanish cloister and the Teahouse, which were much more fun. Ditto for the furniture.
Oh, but now you have to watch or the PC police will shut you down, as they did when one Boston museum let people try on kimonos to see why one artist's picture of his wife in a kimono was so inspiring (such practice not only is a fun way to educate kids, but you can learn not only about Japanese culture, but how Japanese paintings inspired western artists).
Ah, but now that is called cultural appropriation: Taboo.
Guess the Irish need to apologize for growing potatoes.
but of course this works both ways: from the Manchu book mentioned above: Buddhist priests wore a costume inspired by the toga of the troops of Alexander the great inspired the Buddhists of northern India, who brought the fashion to China along with the religion in 220 AD.