The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, by Sandra Dudley

By Sandra Dudley

The issues approximately Museums constitutes a special, hugely various choice of essays remarkable in current books in both museum and history experiences or fabric tradition experiences. Taking diverse views and featuring a number of case experiences, the chapters all deal with gadgets within the context of museums, galleries and/or the background region extra widely. particularly, the ebook bargains with how items are built in museums, the ways that viewers might at once event these items, how items are utilised inside of specific representational options and kinds, and the demanding situations and possibilities offered through the use of items to speak tricky and contested issues. issues and techniques tested within the publication are diversified, yet comprise the objectification of ordinary historical past specimens and museum registers; materiality, immateriality, transience and lack; subject/object barriers; sensory, phenomenological views; the museumisation of items and collections; and the hazards inherent in assuming that gadgets, interpretation and historical past are ‘good’ for us.

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The perceiving subject and the perceived object become real to each other, in that moment (cf. Tilley 2004). The feelings and thoughts initiated during that interaction, not only have the potential to have an ongoing influence on the subject; they may also affect the fate of the object. Indeed, we could say that in that engagement the two form each other, in the sense of their new hybrid forms: subject + perception of object + evolving interpretation of object; and perceived + interpreted object.

They can think a little more closely about what happens and what might happen when people encounter objects on display. They can ponder what it would be like for visitors more often than not to be able properly, bodily, emotionally to engage with an object rather than look at it half-heartedly prior to, or even after, reading a text panel on a wall or a label in a case. Of course, their duty to conserve objects means that museums cannot usually permit visitors to pick up, listen to, lick and sniff the things in their care.

DeMarrais, C. Gosden and C. Renfrew (eds) Rethinking Materiality: the engagement of mind with the material world, Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. 14 SANDRA H. DUDLEY Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Brown, B. (2001) ‘Thing theory’, Critical Inquiry 28 (1): 1–22. Campbell, S. F. (1983) ‘Kula in Vakuta’, in J. Leach and E. Leach (eds) The Kula: new perspectives on Massim exchange, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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