5 Different Types Of Museums: Choosing

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This power point is based on an article "Choosing Among the Options" which can be found in CIVILIZING THE MUSEUM: The collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. It suggests that there are 5 …

This power point is based on an article "Choosing Among the Options" which can be found in CIVILIZING THE MUSEUM: The collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. It suggests that there are 5 categories of museums based on intention not content.

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  • 1. 5 DIFFERENT KINDS OF MUSEUMS & THEIR USES ELAINE HEUMANN GURIAN 2008 CHOOSING
  • 2. Gurian, E. H. (2002). "Choosing Among the Options: An Opinion about Museum Definitions." Curator 45(2): 75-88.
    • This PowerPoint was created to present a visual representation of an article I wrote in 2002, “Choosing” which outlines a taxonomy of five kinds of museums based on the individual museum’s intentional relationship with its audience. The paper can be found in the Journal Curator listed above and in Gurian, E. H. (2006). Civilizing the museum: the collected writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian, Routledge, London.
    • The five types of museums considered are Object Centered, Narrative, Client centered, Community and National. The characteristics of each are outlined in the slides that follow.
  • 3. 5 kinds of museums
    • Object-Centered
    • Narrative
    • Client-Centered
    • Community Focused
    • National
    • Almost all museums are mixtures and no museum is only one type any more.
  • 4. OBJECT-CENTERED
    • Treasure-based / unique objects
    • Concentrate on the material they own or can borrow
    • Are mostly (but not only) art museums
    • Generally present objects without context
    • Value being the “Temple of the Contemplative”.
    • Interested in aesthetics
  • 5. OBJECT-CENTERED
    • Difficult for the novice to understand without other aids, i.e. context, glossaries, introductions, maps, etc.
    • Mostly created for knowledgeable adults
    • Audience demographics are often “upper class”
    • The type of museum is now undergoing change to become more understandable.
  • 6. NARRATIVE
    • Tells stories.
    • Chooses to display only those objects that fit within story.
    • Use objects as visual evidence.
    • Piloted the use of environments as display.
    • Extensive use of all types of multi-media
  • 7. NARRATIVE
    • Designers use emotions / scripted / drama
    • Closest to attractions “Disneyland”
    • Mostly history and social history
    • Often display generic objects
    • Layering
    • Motive: educational
  • 8. CLIENT CENTERED
    • Most interested in the audience.
    • Concentrates on individuals and small social groups.
    • Interest in learning theory, curriculum, schools, children and families.
    • Most often Children’s Museums and Science Centers
  • 9. CLIENT CENTERED
    • Focused on novice/beginning learners.
    • Created many interactive and role playing exhibition techniques.
    • Purpose built environments that simulate experiences.
    • Motive for audience: fun, educational for the children.
  • 10. COMMUNITY
    • Looks least like museum and is often multi-agency community center.
    • Interested in the well-being of a community.
    • Often includes social service.
    • Usually Culturally, regionally or audience specific: Eco-Museums, Native American Centers.
  • 11. COMMUNITY
    • Often under-funded
    • Pilot programs like integration of language training, health education, day-care within the museum.
    • Motive community healing, well-being.
  • 12. NATIONAL
    • Physical display of national Aspirations.
    • Motivation:
      • introduction to country by tourists
      • patriotic pilgrimage by citizens.
    • Part of marketing tourist attraction package.
    • Highly contested / by politicians.
  • 13. NATIONAL
    • Often displays only good news / celebratory without reveling critical nuances.
    • Often more timid and conservative in topic choice then non-national museums.
  • 14. SUMMARY
    • Motivation and intention is different one from another.
    • Different audiences prefer different types of museums.
    • Some audiences prefer each museum for a different purpose i.e. adult outing, family outing, patriotic pilgrimage, tourist attraction, etc.
    • Almost all museums are a mixture of some combination.