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The Modernist Museum and Beyond

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The Modernist Museum and Beyond

  1. 1. The Modernist Museum and beyond
  2. 2. Unit Summary <ul><li>Theories of representation: semiotics/Hall </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse and representation: Saussure to Foucault </li></ul><ul><li>Doing Research – Researching culture: ethnography </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of field research: descriptive observation </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative research interviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Schedules and interview questions </li></ul><ul><li>Representation in research : Representation and the nature of museums </li></ul><ul><li>Representation in museums: The poetics of museum display – displaying culture </li></ul><ul><li>Representation in museums: the modernist ideal/episteme </li></ul><ul><li>Representation in museums: challenges to the modernist ideal </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Model <ul><li>A 19 th century European model </li></ul><ul><li>A building </li></ul><ul><li>Conceived to play a role as part of the nation-state </li></ul><ul><li>Concerned to educate </li></ul><ul><li>Produces a world view in encyclopaedic form </li></ul><ul><li>Collects and places on display - communicates </li></ul><ul><li>Such displays present aspects of world views </li></ul><ul><li>Produces knowledge </li></ul>
  4. 4. Constructing narratives <ul><li>The meanings of objects are constructed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>according to the perspectives from which they are viewed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In relation to the discourses within which they are placed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individual objects are polysemic – they have multiple meanings </li></ul><ul><li>Groupings of objects together make statements about histories, cultures, and identities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is chosen, how grouped and physically juxtaposed constructs a conceptual narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is how knowledge is produced [Handout 1] </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Constructing narratives <ul><li>Why is one of Manchester Museum’s collection called ‘ Living Cultures ’? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the definition of ‘culture’ being used? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of objects have been chosen and with what criteria? </li></ul><ul><li>How were the objects collected? </li></ul><ul><li>How is knowledge produced? </li></ul><ul><li>How is knowledge accessed? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the conceptual narratives embedded in the description of the collection ‘Living Cultures’? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Culture & Identity CULTURES IDENTITIES language beliefs/values signs/symbols art religion can be markers of them and us, origins of sameness and difference can create narratives and rituals that historically define identities can provide core sense of self and community
  7. 7. Changing Narratives What is the narrative connecting these images? http://www.bluecloud.org/ghost%20dance%20shirt.html
  8. 8. Changing Narratives <ul><li>1884 Buffalo Bill and Nate Salisbury opened the Wild West Show in St. Louis, Missouri </li></ul><ul><li>15 th September 1890 – Sitting Bull killed during his arrest </li></ul><ul><li>28 th September members of the Hunkpapa were surrounded by the US army, 7 th Regiment. Ghost dance shirts, sacred and thought to be imbued with protective qualities, were worn by all men </li></ul><ul><li>30 th September 1890 - The battle of Wounded Knee </li></ul><ul><li>George Crager, translator and manager of the Wild West Show, acquired objects from the site of wounded creek </li></ul><ul><li>19 th January 1892 – Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery </li></ul>
  9. 9. Changing Narratives <ul><li>1950s/1960s Ethnographic Gallery, Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery </li></ul><ul><li>1992 the ghost shirt is loaned to ‘Home of the Brave’ a temporary exhibition in Glasgow </li></ul><ul><li>John Earle, lawyer from Atlanta Georgia, visits the exhibition and contacts the Wounded Knee survivors Association </li></ul><ul><li>1995 the shirt is exhibited in the large hall of Kelvingrove Museum </li></ul><ul><li>1995 the first visit of the Wounded Knee survivors Association to Glasgow – media outcry </li></ul><ul><li>1998 the shirt is moved upstairs to its own gallery with other related objects and a video presentation of Lakopta heroes past and present </li></ul>
  10. 10. Changing Narratives <ul><li>1997 the body of Long Wolf exhumed from Crompton cemetery in London and returned home </li></ul><ul><li>1998 public hearing on the possible return of the shirt – new significance </li></ul><ul><li>31 st July 1999 at Lakota Cultural Centre, Cheyenne River Reservation, the Ghost dance shirt was carried in procession by tribal elders </li></ul><ul><li>1 st August 1999 the Shirt was taken back to the site of the massacre at Wounded Knee and prayers and ceremonies took place. </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd August - 2005 the Shirt is in the care of the South Dakota Historical Society </li></ul>
  11. 11. Constructing narratives <ul><li>The meanings of objects are constructed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How did that happen in the case of the Ghost Dance Shirt? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individual objects are polysemic – they have multiple meanings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the meanings that the Ghost dance shirt has had? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Groupings of objects together make statements about histories, cultures, and identities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What statements were made about which histories, which cultures, and which identities? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Beyond the modernist museum <ul><li>How has the experience of Kelgingrove Museum suggested possible changes to modernist museums? </li></ul><ul><li>What factors need to be taken into account in looking at museum culture in the 21 st century? </li></ul>

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