Displaying cultures (2)


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  • Displaying cultures (2)

    1. 1. Displaying Cultures (2) The poetics of museum display
    2. 2. Displaying Cultures: Trends <ul><li>What can you say about the following trends in communicating culture in a museum setting? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is widespread interest in creating new museums of cultural identity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums are beginning to retell the past through the introduction of multiple points of view. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Through collaborative design projects which incorporate the diversity of points of view intercultural communication is improved. </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Displaying Cultures: Trends <ul><ul><li>Museums of national identity act as gathering spots in the global community. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The notion of 'edutainment' is crucial to the museum economy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New technologies are integral to the modern museum experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The museum is becoming a 'moral artefact'. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. National Museum of the American Indian <ul><li>Lets use the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C as a mini-case study to investigate the issues already raised. </li></ul><ul><li>When the designers and architects of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., began consultations with native leaders about their project a decade ago, the message was clear: We want the museum to tell the truth, the elders said. But how do you take such an abstract idea and translate it into architectural reality? The answer, the designers found, was to let Native Americans' sensibilities and traditions wind their way into every nook and cranny of the site. </li></ul><ul><li>Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News September 24, 2004 </li></ul>
    5. 5. National Museum of the American Indian How does the architecture correspond to the ideals as expressed By the elders?
    6. 6. National Museum of the American Indian How is culture represented by the building, internally and externally?
    7. 7. National Museum of the American Indian <ul><li>National Museum of the American Indian </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibitions </li></ul>The links below explore how the web site and current exhibitions mirror The architectural ambitions of the museum.
    8. 8. Displaying Culture <ul><li>‘ Museums, expository spaces charged with garnering, caring for and exhibiting those objects that symbolise some of our deepest feelings and hopes …’ (Hooper-Greenhill, 2004: 557) </li></ul><ul><li>Museums as communicators: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication as a process of transmission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Behavourist learning theory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication as a part of culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constructivist learning theory </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Displaying Culture <ul><li>Modernism and the modernist museum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reason superstition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rationality V subjective knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… institutions such as museums were established to spread out, as though upon a table, those things that could be observed, measured, classified, named and which presented a universally valid and reliable picture of the world. (ibid: 559) </li></ul><ul><li>Descarte’s episteme/Kant’s ‘pure reason’ </li></ul><ul><li>One of the social structures that emerged in the 18 th and 19 th centuries to mediate the cultural values of the enlightenment was the museum. </li></ul>
    10. 10. The Modernist Museum <ul><li>The ideal modernist museum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced and disseminated knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Converted raw humanity to civil society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was encyclopedic – acting as a universal archive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Had private spaces (for the production of knowledge by experts) and public spaces (for knowledge consumption) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stood for ‘higher’, ‘purer’ values than the mundane world of the everyday </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was established by proud city fathers or by nations celebrating their political status </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. The Modernist Museum <ul><li>The modernist museum works with a theory of communication as transmission underpinned by a learning theory which is based on behaviourist ideas. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicative aim = enlighten and educate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoritative source  uninformed receiver </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning theory = behaviourism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stimulus  response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curator = power broker visitor = disempowered </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. The Modernist Museum <ul><li>To what extent were the ‘displays’ you created ‘modernist’ in the ways I have outlined? </li></ul><ul><li>How could they have been otherwise? </li></ul>
    13. 13. The challenges of a post-modern world <ul><li>Issues of narrative and voice. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is said and who says it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The feminist voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The post-colonialist voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ethnographic other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Histories are being re-written from new perspectives and the past is being re-memoried to privilege different events. Formerly silent voices are being heard, and new cultural identities are being forged from the remains of the past.’ (Carol, 2000: 227) </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. The challenges of a post-modern world <ul><li>Issues of narrative and voice. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of interpretation, understanding and the construction of meaning. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is listening. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overt educational remit of museums is unattractive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoritative style is not conducive to leisure time activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The stories told are told from an alien perspective </li></ul></ul>