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A Companion to Museum Studies

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5729-2
592 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Museum Studies (1405157291) cover image
A Companion to Museum Studies captures the multidisciplinary approach to the study of the development, roles, and significance of museums in contemporary society.
  • Collects first-rate original essays by leading figures from a range of disciplines and theoretical stances, including anthropology, art history, history, literature, sociology, cultural studies, and museum studies
  • Examines the complexity of the museum from cultural, political, curatorial, historical and representational perspectives
  • Covers traditional subjects, such as space, display, buildings, objects and collecting, and more contemporary challenges such as visiting, commerce, community and experimental exhibition forms
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List of Illustrations ix

Notes on Contributors xii

Acknowledgments xix

Bibliographical Note xx

1 Expanding Museum Studies: An Introduction 1
Sharon Macdonald

Part I Perspectives, Disciplines, Concepts 13

Introduction 14

2 Cultural Theory and Museum Studies 17
Rhiannon Mason

3 Sociology and the Social Aspects of Museums 33
Gordon Fyfe

4 Art History and Museology: Rendering the Visible Legible 50
Donald Preziosi

5 Museums and Anthropologies: Practices and Narratives 64
Anthony Alan Shelton

6 Collecting Practices 81
Sharon Macdonald

7 The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory, and Museums 98
Susan A. Crane

Part II Histories, Heritage, Identities 111

Introduction 112

8 The Origins of the Public Museum 115
Jeffrey Abt

9 World Fairs and Museums 135
Robert W. Rydell

10 Making and Remaking National Identities 152
Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan

11 Museums and Community 170
Elizabeth Crooke

12 Re-staging Histories and Identities 186
Rosmarie Beier-de Haan

13 Heritage 198
Steven Hoelscher

Part III Architecture, Space, Media 219

Introduction 220

14 Museum Architecture: A Brief History 223
Michaela Giebelhausen

15 Insight versus Entertainment: Untimely Meditations on the Architecture of Twentieth-century Art Museums 245
Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani

16 Civic Seeing: Museums and the Organization of Vision 263
Tony Bennett

17 Space Syntax: The Language of Museum Space 282
Bill Hillier and Kali Tzortzi

18 New Media 302
Michelle Henning

Part IV Visitors, Learning, Interacting 319

Introduction 320

19 Living in a Learning Society: Museums and Free-choice Learning 323
John H. Falk, Lynn D. Dierking, and Marianna Adams

20 Museum Education 340
George E. Hein

21 Interactivity: Thinking Beyond 353
Andrea Witcomb

22 Studying Visitors 362
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill

Part V Globalization, Profession, Practice 377

Introduction 378

23 Globalization: Incorporating the Museum 381
Mark W. Rectanus

24 Cultural Economics 398
Bruno S. Frey and Stephan Meier

25 The Museum Profession 415
Patrick J. Boylan

26 Museum Ethics 431
Tristram Besterman

27 Museum Practice: Legal Issues 442
Patty Gerstenblith

28 Non-Western Models of Museums and Curation in Cross-cultural Perspective 457
Christina Kreps

Part VI Culture Wars, Transformations, Futures 473

Introduction 474

29 Incivilities in Civil(-ized) Places: "Culture Wars" in Comparative Perspective 477
Steven C. Dubin

30 Science Museums and the Culture Wars 494
Steven Conn

31 Postmodern Restructurings 509
Nick Prior

32 Exposing the Public 525
Mieke Bal

33 The Future of the Museum 543
Charles Saumarez Smith

Index 555

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Sharon Macdonald is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. Her books include Theorizing Museums (edited with Gordon Fyfe, Blackwell 1996), Reimagining Culture (1997), The Politics of Display (ed., 1998), Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (2002), and Exhibition Experiments (edited with Paul Basu, Blackwell 2007).
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  • Captures the multidisciplinary approaches to the study of the development, roles, and significance of museums in contemporary society
  • Collects first-rate original essays by leading figures from a range of disciplines and theoretical stances, including anthropology, art history, history, literature, sociology, cultural studies, and museum studies
  • Examines the complexity of the museum from cultural, political, curatorial, historical and representational perspectives
  • Covers traditional subjects, such as space, display, buildings, objects and collecting, and more contemporary challenges such as visiting, commerce, community and experimental exhibition forms.
See More
"This account captures a fresh, multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the development, roles, and significance of museums in our society. It expands museum studies and presents a wide range of theoretical perspectives. The essays examine the complexity of the museum from cultural, political governance, curatorial, historical, and representational perspectives, Sharon Macdonald is the author and Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester." (Neopoprealism Journal, 24 November 2011)

“The collection is not primarily a compendium of the work of ethnographers. The group of scholars Macdonald brought together reflects the current makeup of museum studies as an interdisciplinary endeavor.” (Museum Anthropology, April 2009)

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2007

"Required reading for museum professionals and scholars in museum studies, art and cultural history, sociology of art, and anthropology ... The text is rich in information and diverse in perspectives; it both introduces and complicates in an intriguing and necessary way what we 'know' about museums ... Essential." (Choice)

“This is a wonderfully comprehensive collection of essays, offering diverse perspectives, covering all aspects of the museum profession, and addressing contemporary and historical discourse … It really is the best compendium I’ve read in years.” (Museums Australia)

“No one is better qualified than Sharon Macdonald to create this definitive companion to museum studies. The field has not only come of age but has also burgeoned in all directions. How wise then to capture the vibrancy of its interdisciplinarity by assembling the work of a veritable who’s who of museum studies. Each voice is at once distinct and in dialogue and debate with others. A vital text for the field.”
–Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University

A Companion to Museum Studies is an indispensable guide to what has come to be called ‘the New Museology.’ This set of papers by some of the most distinguished scholars of museums examines museums, displays and exhibits from the perspectives of different disciplines. No one attempting to study or teach about museums will be able to do without this aptly named Companion. It will be both guide and landmark in museum studies for years to come.”
Ivan Karp, Emory University

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