By Subject: Museum Studies
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The Witness as Object
Video Testimony in Memorial Museums
Jong, S. de
In recent years, historical witnessing has emerged as a category of "museum object." Audiovisual recordings of interviews with individuals remembering events of historical importance are now integral to the collections and research activities of museums. They have also become important components in narrative and exhibition design strategies. With a focus on Holocaust museums, this study scrutinizes for the first time the new global phenomenon of the "musealization" of the witness to history, exploring the processes, prerequisites, and consequences of the transformation of video testimonies into exhibits.
Subjects: Museum Studies 20th Century History Media Studies
Sense and Essence
Heritage and the Cultural Production of the Real
Meyer, B. & van de Port, M. (eds)
Contrary to popular perceptions, cultural heritage is not given, but constantly in the making: a construction subject to dynamic processes of (re)inventing culture within particular social formations and bound to particular forms of mediation. Yet the appeal of cultural heritage often rests on its denial of being a fabrication, its promise to provide an essential ground to social-cultural identities. Taking this paradoxical feature as a point of departure, and anchoring the discussion to the two heuristic concepts of the ‘politics of authentication’ and ‘aesthetics of persuasion,’ the chapters herein explore how this tension is central to the dynamics of heritage formation worldwide.
Visitors to the House of Memory
Identity and Political Education at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Bishop Kendzia, V.
As one of the most visited museums in Germany’s capital city, the Jewish Museum Berlin is a key site for understanding not only German-Jewish history, but also German identity in an era of unprecedented ethnic and religious diversity. Visitors to the House of Memory is an intimate exploration of how young Berliners experience the Museum. How do modern students relate to the museum’s evocative architecture, its cultural-political context, and its narrative of Jewish history? By accompanying a range of high school history students before, during, and after their visits to the museum, this book offers an illuminating exploration of political education, affect, remembrance, and belonging.
Subjects: Museum Studies Jewish Studies General Anthropology
Having and Belonging
Homes and Museums in Israel
The home and the museum are typically understood as divergent, even oppositional, social realms: whereas one evokes privacy and familial intimacy, the other is conceived of as a public institution oriented around various forms of civic identity. This meticulous, insightful book draws striking connections between both spheres, which play similar roles by housing objects and generating social narratives. Through fascinating explorations of the museums and domestic spaces of eight representative Israeli communities—Chabad, Moroccan, Iraqi, Ethiopian, Russian, Religious-Zionist, Christian Arab, and Muslim Arab—it gives a powerful account of museums’ role in state formation, proposing a new approach to collecting and categorizing particularly well-suited to societies in conflict.
World Heritage on the Ground
Brumann, C. & Berliner, D. (eds)
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 set the contemporary standard for cultural and natural conservation. Today, a place on the World Heritage List is much sought after for tourism promotion, development funding, and national prestige. Presenting case studies from across the globe, particularly from Africa and Asia, anthropologists with situated expertise in specific World Heritage sites explore the consequences of the World Heritage framework and the global spread of the UNESCO heritage regime. This book shows how local and national circumstances interact with the global institutional framework in complex and unexpected ways. Often, the communities around World Heritage sites are constrained by these heritage regimes rather than empowered by them.
The Enemy on Display
The Second World War in Eastern European Museums
Bogumił, Z., Wawrzyniak, J., Buchen, T., Ganzer, C. & Senina, M.
Eastern European museums represent traumatic events of World War II, such as the Siege of Leningrad, the Warsaw Uprisings, and the Bombardment of Dresden, in ways that depict the enemy in particular ways. This image results from the interweaving of historical representations, cultural stereotypes and beliefs, political discourses, and the dynamics of exhibition narratives. This book presents a useful methodology for examining museum images and provides a critical analysis of the role historical museums play in the contemporary world. As the catastrophes of World War II still exert an enormous influence on the national identities of Russians, Poles, and Germans, museum exhibits can thus play an important role in this process.
Subjects: Museum Studies WWII History
Making and Unmaking Heritage in Cyprus
On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, rural villages, traditional artefacts, even atmospheres and experiences are considered heritage. Heritage making not only protects, but also produces, things, people, and places. Since the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, heritage making and Europeanization are increasingly intertwined in Greek-Cypriot society. Against the backdrop of a long-term ethnographic engagement, the author argues that heritage emerges as an increasingly standardized economic resource, a “European product.” Implemented in historic preservation, rural tourism, culinary traditions, nature protection, and urban restoration projects, heritage policy has become infused with transnational market regulations and neoliberal property regimes.
Subjects: General Anthropology Museum Studies
Museum Websites and Social Media
Issues of Participation, Sustainability, Trust and Diversity
Sánchez Laws, A. L.
Online activities present a unique challenge for museums as they harness the potential of digital technology for sustainable development, trust building, and representations of diversity. This volume offers a holistic picture of museum online activities that can serve as a starting point for cross-disciplinary discussion. It is a resource for museum staff, students, designers, and researchers working at the intersection of cultural institutions and digital technologies. The aim is to provide insight into the issues behind designing and implementing web pages and social media to serve the broadest range of museum stakeholders.
Subjects: Museum Studies Media Studies
From Antiquities to Heritage
Transformations of Cultural Memory
Eighteenth-century gentleman scholars collected antiquities. Nineteenth-century nation states built museums to preserve their historical monuments. In the present world, heritage is a global concern as well as an issue of identity politics. What does it mean when runic stones or medieval churches are transformed from antiquities to monuments to heritage sites? This book argues that the transformations concern more than words alone: They reflect fundamental changes in the way we experience the past, and the way historical objects are assigned meaning and value in the present. This book presents a series of cases from Norwegian culture to explore how historical objects and sites have changed in meaning over time. It contributes to the contemporary debates over collective memory and cultural heritage as well to our knowledge about early modern antiquarianism.
Subjects: Museum Studies General History
Exhibiting Europe in Museums
Transnational Networks, Collections, Narratives, and Representations
Kaiser, W., Krankenhagen, S. & Poehls, K.
Museums of history and contemporary culture face many challenges in the modern age. One is how to react to processes of Europeanization and globalization, which require more cross-border cooperation and different ways of telling stories for visitors. This book investigates how museums exhibit Europe. Based on research in nearly 100 museums across the Continent and interviews with cultural policy makers and museum curators, it studies the growing transnational activities of state institutions, societal organizations, and people in the museum field such as attempts to Europeanize collection policy and collections as well as different strategies for making narratives more transnational like telling stories of European integration as shared history and discussing both inward and outward migration as a common experience and challenge. The book thus provides fascinating insights into a fast-changing museum landscape in Europe with wider implications for cultural policy and museums in other world regions.
Subjects: Museum Studies General History
Borders of Belonging
Experiencing History, War and Nation at a Danish Heritage Site
In an era cross-cut with various agendas and expressions of national belonging and global awareness, “the nation” as a collective reference point and experienced entity stands at the center of complex identity struggles. This book explores how such struggles unfold in practice at a highly symbolic battlefield site in the Danish/German borderland. Comprised of an ethnography of two profoundly different institutions – a conventional museum and an experience-based heritage center – it analyses the ways in which staff and visitors interfere with, relate to, and literally “make sense” of the war heritage and its national connotations. Borders of Belonging offers a comparative, in-depth analysis of the practices and negotiations through which history is made and manifested at two houses devoted to the interpretation of one event: the decisive battle of the 1864 war in which Otto von Bismarck, on his way to uniting the new German Empire, led the Prussian army to victory over the Danish. Working through his empirical material to engage with and challenge established theoretical positions in the study of museums, modernity, and tourism, Mads Daugbjerg demonstrates that national belonging is still a key cultural concern, even as it asserts itself in novel, muted, and increasingly experiential ways.
Subjects: Museum Studies Travel & Tourism General History
Colonial Collecting and Display
Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
In the late-nineteenth century, British travelers to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands compiled wide-ranging collections of material culture for scientific instruction and personal satisfaction. Colonial Collecting and Display follows the compelling history of a particular set of such objects, tracing their physical and conceptual transformation from objects of indigenous use to accessioned objects in a museum collection in the south of England. This first study dedicated to the historical collecting and display of the Islands' material cultures develops a new analysis of colonial discourse, using a material culture-led approach to reconceptualize imperial relationships between Andamanese, Nicobarese, and British communities, both in the Bay of Bengal and on British soil. It critiques established conceptions of the act of collecting, arguing for recognition of how indigenous makers and consumers impacted upon "British" collection practices, and querying the notion of a homogenous British approach to material culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Meaning and Mattering after Alfred Gell
Chua, L. & Elliott, M. (eds)
One of the most influential anthropological works of the last two decades, Alfred Gell’s Art and Agency is a provocative and ambitious work that both challenged and reshaped anthropological understandings of art, agency, creativity and the social. It has become a touchstone in contemporary artifact-based scholarship. This volume brings together leading anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians and other scholars into an interdisciplinary dialogue with Art and Agency, generating a timely re-engagement with the themes, issues and arguments at the heart of Gell’s work, which remains salient, and controversial, in the social sciences and humanities. Extending his theory into new territory – from music to literary technology and ontology to technological change – the contributors do not simply take stock, but also provoke, critically reassessing this important work while using it to challenge conceptual and disciplinary boundaries.
About the Hearth
Perspectives on the Home, Hearth and Household in the Circumpolar North
Anderson, D. G., Wishart, R. P., & Vaté, V. (eds)
Due to changing climates and demographics, questions of policy in the circumpolar north have focused attention on the very structures that people call home. Dwellings lie at the heart of many forms of negotiation. Based on years of in-depth research, this book presents and analyzes how the people of the circumpolar regions conceive, build, memorialize, and live in their dwellings. This book seeks to set a new standard for interdisciplinary work within the humanities and social sciences and includes anthropological work on vernacular architecture, environmental anthropology, household archaeology and demographics.
Challenging Practices for 21st Century Museums
Were, G. & King, J. C. H. (eds)
By exploring the processes of collecting, which challenge the bounds of normally acceptable practice, this book debates the practice of collecting ‘difficult’ objects, from a historical and contemporary perspective; and discusses the acquisition of objects related to war and genocide, and those purchased from the internet, as well as considering human remains, mass produced objects and illicitly traded antiquities. The aim is to apply a critical approach to the rigidity of museums in maintaining essentially nineteenth-century ideas of collecting; and to move towards identifying priorities for collection policies in museums, which are inclusive of acquiring ‘difficult’ objects. Much of the book engages with the question of the limits to the practice of collecting as a means to think through the implementation of new strategies.
Subjects: Museum Studies Archaeology
Crafting 'The Indian'
Knowledge, Desire, and Play in Indianist Reenactment
Kalshoven, P. T.
In Europe, Indian hobbyism, or Indianism, has developed out of a strong fascination with Native American life in the 18th and 19th centuries. “Indian hobbyists” dress in homemade replicas of clothing, craft museum-quality replicas of artifacts, meet in fields dotted with tepees and reenact aspects of North American Indian lifeworlds, using ethnographies, travel diaries, and museum collections as resources. Grounded in fieldwork set among networks of Indian hobbyists in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the Czech Republic, this ethnography analyzes this contemporary practice of serious leisure with respect to the general human desire for play, metaphor, and allusion. It provides insights into the increasing popularity of reenactment practices as they relate to a deeper understanding of human perception, imagination, and creativity.
Panamanian Museums and Historical Memory
Sánchez Laws, A. L.
Panama is an ethnically diverse country with a recent history of political conflict which makes the representation of historical memory an especially complex and important task for the country’s museums. This book studies new museum projects in Panama with the aim of identifying the dominant narratives that are being formed as well as those voices that remain absent and muted. Through case analyses of specific museums and exhibitions the author identifies and examines the influences that form and shape museum strategy and development.
Subjects: Museum Studies General History
The Lives of Chinese Objects
Buddhism, Imperialism and Display
This is the biography of a set of rare Buddhist statues from China. Their extraordinary adventures take them from the Buddhist temples of fifteenth-century Putuo – China’s most important pilgrimage island – to their seizure by a British soldier in the First Opium War in the early 1840s, and on to a starring role in the Great Exhibition of 1851. In the 1850s, they moved in and out of dealers’ and antiquarian collections, arriving in 1867 at Liverpool Museum. Here they were re-conceptualized as specimens of the ‘Mongolian race’ and, later, as examples of Oriental art. The statues escaped the bombing of the Museum during the Second World War and lived out their existence for the next sixty years, dismembered, corroding and neglected in the stores, their histories lost and origins unknown.
As the curator of Asian collections at Liverpool Museum, the author became fascinated by these bronzes, and selected them for display in the Buddhism section of the World Cultures gallery. In 2005, quite by chance, the discovery of a lithograph of the figures on prominent display in the Great Exhibition enabled the remarkable lives of these statues to be reconstructed.
Subjects: Museum Studies General History Archaeology
Changes in Museum Practice
New Media, Refugees and Participation
Skartveit & Goodnow, K. (eds)
How can museums move beyond simply raising awareness and establish a dialogue both within and across communities and cultural boundaries? By examining the ways in which museums can involve refugees and asylum seekers this volume explores this key question. Leading artists, curators, and academics come together to outline different levels of participation by audiences and communities and explore a range of topics from video games to role-play and theatre; and from photography to participatory video and digital storytelling. Case studies are used throughout to highlight the various ways that different participatory approaches can be used successfully.
Subjects: Museum Studies Refugee & Migration Studies
The Long Way Home
The Meaning and Values of Repatriation
Turnbull, P. & Pickering, M. (eds)
Indigenous peoples have long sought the return of ancestral human remains and associated artifacts from western museums and scientific institutions. Since the late 1970s their efforts have led museum curators and researchers to re-evaluate their practices and policies in respect to the scientific uses of human remains. New partnerships have been established between cultural and scientific institutions and indigenous communities. Human remains and culturally significant objects have been returned to the care of indigenous communities, although the fate of bones and burial artifacts in numerous collections remains unresolved and, in some instances, the subject of controversy. In this book, leading researchers from a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences reflect critically on the historical, cultural, ethical and scientific dimensions of repatriation. Through various case studies they consider the impact of repatriation: what have been the benefits, and in what ways has repatriation given rise to new problems for indigenous people, scientists and museum personnel. It features chapters by indigenous knowledge custodians, who reflect upon recent debates and interaction between indigenous people and researchers in disciplines with direct interests in the continued scientific preservation of human remains.
In this book, leading researchers from a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences reflect critically on the historical, cultural, ethical and scientific dimensions of repatriation. Through various case studies they consider the impact of repatriation: what have been the benefits, and in what ways has repatriation given rise to new problems for indigenous people, scientists and museum personnel. It features chapters by indigenous knowledge custodians, who reflect upon recent debates and interaction between indigenous people and researchers in disciplines with direct interests in the continued scientific preservation of human remains.
Subjects: Museum Studies General Anthropology
Museums, the Media and Refugees
Stories of Crisis, Control and Compassion
Goodnow, K, Lohman, J. & Marfleet, P. (eds)
Across countries and time, asylum-seekers and refugees have been represented in a variety of ways. In some representations they appear negatively, as dangers threatening to ‘over-run’ a country or a region with ‘floods’ of incompatible strangers. In others, the same people are portrayed positively, with compassion, and pictured as desperately in need of assistance. How these competing perceptions are received has significant consequences for determining public policy, human rights, international agreements, and the realization of cultural diversity, and so it is imperative to understand how these images are perpetuated. To this end, this volume reflects on museum practice and the contexts, stories, and images of asylum seekers and refugees prevalent in our mass media.
Based on case studies from Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the overall findings are illustrative of narratives and images common to museums and the media throughout the world. They aim to challenge political rhetoric and populist media imagery and consider what forms of dissent are likely to be sustained and what narratives ultimately break through and can lead to empathy and positive political change.
Subjects: Museum Studies Refugee & Migration Studies
Scandinavian Museums and Cultural Diversity
Goodnow, K. & Akman, H. (eds)
Museums face the task of representing the similarities and differences that exist between groups, such as national identities and indigenous and minority voices, material and intangible heritage, and current status and past history. In order to achieve this aim, a complex and not always easily compatible set of interests have to be taken into account, from those of the museum itself, to those of its main audiences, sources of support, and the groups that are, or wish to be, represented. The approach taken by Scandinavian museums in response to this challenge highlights a very active concern for forms of cultural diversity and how they are interrelated.
By bringing together debates and discussions of diversity, this volume offers insight into the Nordic region and its diverse peoples, from the Sámi and the Inuit to newer immigrants. It presents a set of historical reviews on the formation of national museums and emerging and contested perceptions of national identity. Furthering the general debate on representations of diversity and museums, it also offers museum curators possible ways forward.
Katherine Goodnow is Professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. She has published widely on museums and cultural diversity. Her most recent books in the field include Challenge and transformation: Museums in Cape Town and Sydney and Museums, the media and refugees: Stories of crisis, control and compassion. Goodnow combines research with filmmaking and has produced television series and documentaries for Norwegian national broadcasters.
Haci Akman is Associate Professor at the Department of Archaeology, History, Culture and Religious Science, University of Bergen. His research interests include migration, diaspora processes, ethnicity, cultural heritage and museums and diversity. Recent publications in these fields focus on Kurdish and Jewish diaspora societies in the United Kingdom and Norway. Akman is currently working on the development of the Norwegian Kurdish Virtual Museum.
Subject: Museum Studies
The Future of Indigenous Museums
Perspectives from the Southwest Pacific
Stanley, N. (ed)
Indigenous museums and cultural centres have sprung up across the developing world, and particularly in the Southwest Pacific. They derive from a number of motives, ranging from the commercial to the cultural political (and many combine both). A close study of this phenomenon is not only valuable for museological practice but, as has been argued, it may challenge our current bedrock assumptions about the very nature and purpose of the museum. This book looks to the future of museum practice through examining how museums have evolved particularly in the non-western world to incorporate the present and the future in the display of culture. Of particular concern is the uses to which historic records are put in the service of community development and cultural renaissance.
Subjects: Museum Studies General Anthropology
Fetishes and Monuments
Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the 20th Century
One hundred years ago in Brazil the rituals of Candomblé were feared as sorcery and persecuted as crime. Its cult objects were fearsome fetishes. Nowadays, they are Afro-Brazilian cultural works of art, objects of museum display and public monuments. Focusing on the particular histories of objects, images, spaces and persons who embodied it, this book portrays the historical journey from weapons of sorcery looted by the police, to hidden living stones, to public works of art attacked by religious fanatics that see them as images of the Devil, former sorcerers who have become artists, writers, and philosophers. Addressing this history as a journey of objectification and appropriation, the author offers a fresh, unconventional, and illuminating look at questions of syncretism, hybridity and cultural resistance in Brazil and in the Black Atlantic in general.
Challenge and Transformation
Museums in Cape Town and Sydney
Focusing on how change takes place in museums, Challenge and Transformation: Museums in Cape Town and Sydney is built around a series of case studies outlining the way museums have come to terms with issues of diversity and change - within ethnographic museums, historic sites and art galleries. The case studies are complemented by an introduction by Jack Lohman and an epilogue by the current CEO at Iziko Museums, Jatti Bredekamp.
Subject: Museum Studies
Human Remains and Museum Practice
Lohman, J. & Goodnow, K. (eds)
Human Remains and Museum Practice explores fundamental issues of collecting and displaying human remains, including ethics, interpretation and repatriation as they apply in different parts of the world. This volume reflects the controversial discussions that were held at the Museum of London as part of an international symposium on the political and ethical dimensions of the collection and display of human remains in museums. It represents a second publication devoted to exploring diversity and promoting intercultural dialogue in museum practice.
Subject: Museum Studies
Science, Magic and Religion
The Ritual Processes of Museum Magic
Bouquet, M. & Porto, N. (eds)
For some time now, museums have been recognized as important institutions of western cultural and social life. The idea of the museum as a ritual site is fairly new and has been applied to the art museums in Europe and the United States so far. This volume expands it by exploring a range of contemporary museums in Europe and Africa. The case studies examine the different ways in which various actors involved in cultural production dramatize and ritualize such sites. It turns out that not only museum specialists, but visitors themselves are engaged in complex performances and experiences that make use of museums in often unexpected ways.
Subjects: Museum Studies Religion General Anthropology
Hunting the Gatherers
Ethnographic Collectors, Agents, and Agency in Melanesia 1870s-1930s
O'Hanlon, M. & Welsch, R. (eds)
Between the 1870s and the 1930s competing European powers carved out and consolidated colonies in Melanesia, the most culturally diverse region of the world. As part of this process, great assemblages of ethnographic artefacts were made by a range of collectors whose diversity is captured in this volume. The contributors to this tightly-integrated volume take these collectors, and the collecting institutions, as the departure point for accounts that look back at the artefact-producing societies and their interaction with the collectors, but also forward to the fate of the collections in metropolitan museums, as the artefacts have been variously exhibited, neglected, re-conceived as indigenous heritage, or repatriated. In doing this, the contributors raise issues of current interest in anthropology, Pacific history, art history, museology, and material culture.
Academic Anthropology and the Museum
Back to the Future
Bouquet, M. (ed)
The museum boom, with its accompanying objectification and politicization of culture, finds its counterpart in the growing interest by social scientists in material culture, much of which is to be found in museums. Not surprisingly, anthropologists in particular are turning their attention again to museums, after decades of neglect, during which fieldwork became the hallmark of modern anthropology - so much so that the "social" and the "material" parted company so radically as to produce a kind of knowledge gap between historical collections and the intellectuals who might have benefitted from working on these material representations of culture. Moreover it was forgotten that museums do not only present the "pastness" of things. A great deal of what goes on in contemporary museums is literally about planning the shape of the future: making culture materialize involves mixing things from the past, taking into account current visions, and knowing that the scenes constructed will shape the perspectives of future generations. However, the (re-)invention of museum anthropology presents a series of challenges for academic teaching and research, as well as for the work of cultural production in contemporary museums - issues that are explored in this volume.