By Sharon Macdonald
What is going on in the back of closed doorways at museums? How are judgements approximately exhibitions made and who, or what, fairly makes them? Why are yes gadgets and types of exhibit selected when others are rejected, and what components impact how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This e-book solutions those looking questions via giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technology Museum in London. through monitoring the heritage of a specific exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the realm of the museum curator and exhibits in bright aspect how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She finds why exhibitions don't continuously mirror their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, even if, the ebook additionally presents large and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and worldwide political shifts impression the construction of public wisdom via exhibitions.
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Additional resources for Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (Materializing Culture)
53 Similar escalations in numbers of museums were occurring across much of western Europe, in the United States and Japan, and increasingly in much of the rest of the globe. For the established museums, of which the Science Museum was one, this rash of mostly independently run museums was both encouraging in that it suggested that ‘the museum idea’ had not become as passé and defunct as some had thought, and worrying in that the new museums posed a challenge to the established museum idea through their use of unfamiliar display strategies and in the capacity of many of them to attract visitors who might otherwise have attended the established museums.
I have discussed strengths of an ethnographic perspective in relation to the Science Museum in particular and organisations more generally in Macdonald 2001. Other chapters in the collection by Gellner and Hirsch 2001 also highlight reasons for an anthropological perspective on organisations, as do chapters in Wright 1994. Book-length ethnographic accounts of organisations which I have found illuminating include: on museums and museumlike institutions – Davis 1997 and Handler and Gable 1997; on culture producers – Becker 1982, Born 1995, Miller 1997, Wulff 1998; and on science and technology – Downey 1998; Gusterson 1996, Kidder 1982, Latour and Woolgar 1979, Law 1994, Rabinow 1996, Traweek 1988, and Zabusky 1995.
As well as giving an account of what seems to me to be an important period in public culture and in the development of public understanding of science initiatives, this chapter also provides a broader context, taking us further behind the historical facades of London’s museum quarter. Chapter three explores some of the cultural changes under way and how they were organisationally negotiated by telling the story of an attempt to revise thematically the whole Science Museum and reorganise its exhibition spaces.
Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (Materializing Culture) by Sharon Macdonald