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Museum as temple or forum pm & hse moscow

Museums are in a new paradigm where participatory practice, social relevancy, access and reflective representation are at stake.

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Museum as temple or forum pm & hse moscow

  1. 1. Museum as Temple or Forum? Pilot-­‐Project in Museum Studies Polytechnical Museum Moscow Higher School of Economics Reinwardt Academy Ruben Smit
  2. 2. Please, define your own meaningful museum definition! Muse u m as Temple?
  3. 3. Museums, zoos, libraries are typical expressions of the Age of Enlightenment
  4. 4. The long 19th Century (1889 – 1914) is the age of Nation Building ‘Nation Building’ – it is not accidental that museums were founded and built in this era.
  5. 5. “First Impressions Never Lie” So let’s look at the prototype of museum architecture; the neo-classical style refers of course to the temples of the classical ancient Greek and Roman cultures.
  6. 6. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Newly constructed 1854, C.R. Cockerell)
  7. 7. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 1837- 41, George Basevi
  8. 8. British Museum, London Robert Smirke 1823-47
  9. 9. Field Museum, Chicago 1893, Charles Atwood
  10. 10. Das Altes Museum, Berlin 1823-1830, Karl F. Schinkel
  11. 11. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Facade 1902, R.M. Hunt
  12. 12. The National Gallery, London 1832-38, William Wilkins
  13. 13. The National Gallery, London 1832-38, William Wilkins
  14. 14. Sainsbury Wing (NG) 1988-9, Venturi Scott Brown
  15. 15. Rijksmuseum 1885, Pierre J.H. Cuypers
  16. 16. New Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Maart 2013 Cruz en Ortis
  17. 17. Guggenheim, NYC 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright
  18. 18. Centre Pompidou 1976, Rogers en Piano
  19. 19. Nouveau Louvre 1989, I.M. Pei
  20. 20. Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht 1995, Aldo Rossi
  21. 21. Groninger Museum 1995, Alessandro Mendini
  22. 22. NEMO – Science Centre, Amsterdam 1997, Renzo Piano
  23. 23. Jewish Museum, Berlin 2001, Daniel Liebeskind
  24. 24. Jewish Museum, Berlin 2001, Daniel Liebeskind
  25. 25. New Wing Royal Ontario Museum 2006, Daniel Liebeskind
  26. 26. A m u s e u m is . .?
  27. 27. museum • noun, a building in which objects of interest or significance are stored and exhibited Compact Oxford English Dictionary
  28. 28. A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. ICOM- definition
  29. 29. 'A museum is an institution which collects, documents, preserves, exhibits and interprets material evidence and associated information for the public benefit' Museums Association - old definition
  30. 30. 'Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.‘ Museums Association Definition Adopted: 1998
  31. 31. Our mission is to help people determine their place in the world and define their identities, so enhancing their self-respect and their respect for others. Tynes & Wear Museums, Newcastle (U.K.)
  32. 32. David Fleming CEO Loverpool Museums h>p://
  33. 33. H o w did we get th ere?
  34. 34. heritage functions institutions society ‘New' Museology Peter van Mensch
  35. 35. Crises are from all times When I was young I witnessed the double oil crisis
  36. 36. In those days the then director of the Brooklyn Museum, Duncan Cameron, published an article: ‘The Museum, a Temple or the Forum’
  37. 37. • In our daily life we ourselves judge objects outside museums primarily on their more practical qualities like: price, materiality, durability, usability, design, etc…
  38. 38. • Cameron stated that with the selection and presentation of objects museums fully and structurally change the meaning of these objects.
  39. 39. • Once collected by the museum, the object receives an aura of almost sacral approval.
  40. 40. • Furthermore Cameron stated that museum collections as such are being used as benchmarks to help to define the visitor’s personal view on the world.
  41. 41. To whom does this museum belong? • Visitors see these objects as material witnesses of ideas, dreams, wishes and feelings of current or past times.
  42. 42. • Cameron is not that explicit, but he states that the museum is actually similar to an identity making machine. • Furthermore Cameron voices his criticism on museum practice of his days and sees three contraditions:
  43. 43. • 17th en 18th century private-collections 1st PARADOX • Now-a-days public-collections of the ‘democratic’museum
  44. 44. • Acting curators who collect, select, and present within their own academic paradigm. 2nd PARADOX • Current visitors do not necessarily have an academic back ground
  45. 45. • Museum value system of collecting is often elitist: high-bourgeois or aristocratic is preferred to popular culture. 3rd PARADOX • Current visitors from all social strata of society
  46. 46. Every crisis leads to professional innovation
  47. 47. Professionalization of the museum field with a focus on visitors and audience development (strengthening of professional development, setting up specific vocational study programmes, etc...)
  48. 48. Internal professionalization through setting up of educational and visitors services in museums that gained more influence and impact.
  49. 49. Strengthening of visitors service in museums: information desks, routing and way finding, museum café, museum restaurant, museum shop...
  50. 50. Appliance of audience focussed presentation techniques within exhibitions.
  51. 51. Development of attractive temporary exhibitons.
  52. 52. Accomplishing ambitious refurbishment programmes.
  53. 53. Architectional adjustments with a ‘democratic’ infrastructure.
  54. 54. Setting up of additional programmes (outreach, workshops, events, etc…)
  55. 55. Using New Media and through that sharing of knowledge. Becoming part of the knowledge network society (e.g. museum 2.0).
  56. 56. Rationalisation collections: de-accessioning, reinterpreting and reframing (e.g. GLBT), strategic collecting (e.g. representation).
  57. 57. Inclusive Museum as a means for cultural change
  58. 58. Inclusive Museum • Access § Physical § Intellectual § Psychological • Representation • Participation
  59. 59. Inclusive Museum • Access § Physical § Intellectual § Psychological
  60. 60. Inclusive Museum • Access § Physical § Intellectual § Psychological • Representation
  61. 61. Social Inclusion • Access § Physical § Intellectual § Psychological • Representation TATE Unlock Art: Role of Women in Art h>p://
  62. 62. Social Inclusion • Access § Physical § Intellectual § Psychological • Representation • Participation Nina Simon h4p://
  63. 63. Nina Simon clip from: h4ps:// watch?v=1JoGYZRtBWk
  64. 64. Richard Sandell, see also:
  65. 65. Starting strategic alliances with third parties (focus-groups, schools, other cultural institutions, artists, media, etc…).
  66. 66. • Save Haven for public debates and discussions about culture, human rights en social relationships. h>p://