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This is an innovative interdisciplinary book about objects and people within museums and galleries. It addresses fundamental issues of human sensory, emotional and aesthetic experience of objects. The chapters explore ways and contexts in which things and people mutually interact, and raise questions about how objects carry meaning and feeling, the distinctions between objects and persons, particular qualities of the museum as context for person-object engagements, and the active and embodied role of the museum visitor. Museum Materialities is divided into three sections – Objects, Engagements and Interpretations – and includes a foreword by Susan Pearce and an afterword by Howard Morphy. It examines materiality and other perceptual and ontological qualities of objects themselves; embodied sensory and cognitive engagements – both personal and across a wider audience spread – with particular objects or object types in a museum or gallery setting; notions of aesthetics, affect and wellbeing in museum contexts; and creative and innovative artistic and museum practices that seek to illuminate or critique museum objects and interpretations. Phenomenological and other approaches to embodied experience in an emphatically material world are current in a number of academic areas, most particularly strands of material culture studies within anthropology and cognate disciplines. Thus far, however, there has been no concerted application of this kind of approach to museum collections and interactions with them by museum visitors, curators, artists and researchers. Bringing together essays by scholars and practitioners from a wide disciplinary and international base, Museum Materialities seeks to make just such a contribution. In so doing it makes a valuable and original addition to the literature of both material culture studies and museum studies.
Heritage’s revival as a respected academic subject has, in part, resulted from an increased awareness and understanding of indigenous rights and non-Western philosophies and practices, and a growing respect for the intangible. Heritage has, thus far, focused on management, tourism and the traditionally ‘heritage-minded’ disciplines, such as archaeology, geography, and social and cultural theory. Widening the scope of international heritage studies, A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage explores heritage through new areas of knowledge, including emotion and affect, the politics of dissent, migration, and intercultural and participatory dimensions of heritage. Drawing on a range of disciplines and the best from established sources, the book includes writing not typically recognised as 'heritage', but which, nevertheless, makes a valuable contribution to the debate about what heritage is, what it can do, and how it works and for whom. Including heritage perspectives from beyond the professional sphere, the book serves as a reminder that heritage is not just an academic concern, but a deeply felt and keenly valued public and private practice. This blending of traditional topics and emerging trends, established theory and concepts from other disciplines offers readers international views of the past and future of this growing field. A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage offers a wider, more current and more inclusive overview of issues and practices in heritage and its intersection with museums. As such, the book will be essential reading for postgraduate students of heritage and museum studies. It will also be of great interest to academics, practitioners and anyone else who is interested in how we conceptualise and use the past.
Museums are institutions of both education and learning in service of society, that is, they are sites where educational experiences are designed and facilitated, and also places where visitors learn in broad and diverse ways. As such, the role of public education in museums today is highly important, if not at the centre of museum activity. As museums contemplate the growing significance of their educational roles and mandate within a changing society, so too they are increasingly in need of information about the audiences they serve and their own professional practice as they strive to achieve their educational missions in service to the communities in which they are embedded. Accordingly, this edited book focuses on informing, broadening and enhancing the pedagogy of museum education and the practices of museum educators. The chapters in this book report independent research studies conducted by the authors who have explored and investigated a variety of issues affecting museum education practice, contextualized across a range of institutions, including art galleries, natural and social history museums, anthropology museums, science centres, and gardens. These studies address a cross-section of contemporary issues confronting the field of museum education including studies of diverse audiences and their needs, the mediation of challenging topics, professional training, teaching and learning in informal settings, and reflective practice and praxis. Together these themes represent a set of topical issues germane to informing, broadening and enhancing educational practices in diverse museum settings, and will be of considerable interest to a broad spectrum of the museum and non-formal education fields.
Museum Objects provides a set of readings that together create a distinctive emphasis and perspective on the objects which lie at the heart of interpretive practice in museums, material culture studies and everyday life. This reader brings together classic and up to date texts on the nature and definition of the object itself, the senses and embodied experience of objects. No other volume brings together such perspectives in this way, and no other volume includes such a focus on the museum context. Museum Objects incorporates both theorised and more practical readings from a range of international academic and contextual perspectives. The overall result is a definitive set of readings that offers a comprehensive understanding of objects and their place within the museum context.
In the past, museums often changed the meaning of icons or statues of deities from sacred to aesthetic, or used them to declare the superiority of Western society, or simply as cultural and historical evidence. The last generation has seen faith groups demanding to control 'their' objects, and curators recognising that objects can only be understood within their original religious context. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the role religion plays in museums, with major exhibitions highlighting the religious as well as the historical nature of objects. Using examples from all over the world, Religious Objects in Museums is the first book to examine how religious objects are transformed when they enter the museum, and how they affect curators and visitors. It examines the full range of meanings that religious objects may bear - as scientific specimen, sacred icon, work of art, or historical record. Showing how objects may be used to argue a point, tell a story or promote a cause, may be worshipped, ignored, or seen as dangerous or unlucky, this highly accessible book is an essential introduction to the subject.
Essay from the year 2012 in the subject Art - Miscellaneous, grade: Merit, Kingston University London (Kingston University London, in Partnership with the Design Museum, London, U.K.), course: MA Curating Contemporary Design, language: English, abstract: Displaying art objects in exhibition is not only an artistic expression in the heart of curating, but it is also an essential interface for curators to present stories and convey meanings. How to engage people beyond purely-visual-appeals is always a top-of-mind-question embedded in curators’ mind, and the discourse has become a major concern among pioneers in recent times. Over the decade, frontier exhibitioners were attempting to breakthrough from a purely vision-dominated museum culture. Some exhibition experiments were successful, and the movement has fundamentally changed the way curators think about exhibition-making, including the ultimate purpose of displaying objects. The paradigm shift actually rings the bells and requires contemporary curators to pay attention to. It is crucial to realize that the recent success was not only about the artistic sense of the artists, but it is also the revolutionary belief of the frontier curators that has made it happen. This essay aims to uncover the distinctive differences in the core beliefs of multi sensory approaches, in order to find out dynamic answers to new display strategies. Cases include: Partners (Haus DerHunst, Munich, 2003), Rain Room (Barbican Centre, London, 2010), and HeinerGoebbels-Stifter’s Dinge (Ambica P3, London, 2012).
First runner-up for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies 2015. In ancient Egypt, wrapping sacred objects, including mummified bodies, in layers of cloth was a ritual that lay at the core of Egyptian society. Yet in the modern world, attention has focused instead on unwrapping all the careful arrangements of linen textiles the Egyptians had put in place. This book breaks new ground by looking at the significance of textile wrappings in ancient Egypt, and at how their unwrapping has shaped the way we think about the Egyptian past. Wrapping mummified bodies and divine statues in linen reflected the cultural values attached to this textile, with implications for understanding gender, materiality and hierarchy in Egyptian society. Unwrapping mummies and statues similarly reflects the values attached to Egyptian antiquities in the West, where the colonial legacies of archaeology, Egyptology and racial science still influence how Egypt appears in museums and the press. From the tomb of Tutankhamun to the Arab Spring, Unwrapping Ancient Egypt raises critical questions about the deep-seated fascination with this culture – and what that fascination says about our own.

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