The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation

Dudley, Sandra; Barnes, Amy Jane; Binnie, Jennifer; Petrov, Julia and Walklate, Jennifer eds. (2011). The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation. Abingdon: Routledge.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203803523

Abstract

The Things about Museums constitutes a unique, highly diverse collection of essays unprecedented in existing books in either museum and heritage studies or material culture studies. Taking varied perspectives and presenting a range of case studies, the chapters all address objects in the context of museums, galleries and/or the heritage sector more broadly. Specifically, the book deals with how objects are constructed in museums, the ways in which visitors may directly experience those objects, how objects are utilised within particular representational strategies and forms, and the challenges and opportunities presented by using objects to communicate difficult and contested matters. Topics and approaches examined in the book are diverse, but include the objectification of natural history specimens and museum registers; materiality, immateriality, transience and absence; subject/object boundaries; sensory, phenomenological perspectives; the museumisation of objects and collections; and the dangers inherent in assuming that objects, interpretation and heritage are ‘good’ for us.

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