"We live in a museum age," writes Steven Conn in Do Museums Still Need Objects? And indeed, at the turn of the twenty-first century, more people are visiting museums than ever before. There are now over 17,500 accredited museums in the United States, averaging approximately 865 million visits a year, more than two million visits a day. New museums have proliferated across the cultural landscape even as older ones have undergone transformational additions: from the Museum of Modern Art and the Morgan in New York to the High in Atlanta and the Getty in Los Angeles. If the golden age of museum-building came a century ago, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Field Museum of Natural History, and others were created, then it is fair to say that in the last generation we have witnessed a second golden age. By closely observing the cultural, intellectual, and political roles that museums play in contemporary society, while also delving deeply into their institutional histories, historian Steven Conn demonstrates that museums are no longer seen simply as houses for collections of objects. Conn ranges across a wide variety of museum types—from art and anthropology to science and commercial museums—asking questions about the relationship between museums and knowledge, about the connection between culture and politics, about the role of museums in representing non-Western societies, and about public institutions and the changing nature of their constituencies. Elegantly written and deeply researched, Do Museums Still Need Objects? is essential reading for historians, museum professionals, and those who love to visit museums.
"Curating and Re-Curating the American Wars in Vietnam and Iraq is about looking for war knowledge in unexpected places, such as war memorials, museum exhibitions, war cemeteries, and novels and memoirs. What one finds there can contradict the prescribed understandings of a particular war or, say, endorse the tendency to treat military personnel as heroes to be thanked. Especially when 'ordinary curators' display memories of their war experiences through the objects left at memorials and graves, or through the words they curate in war novels, the observer/reader gets a glimpse of actual lives lost, futures cut short and even some of the dull noncombat jobs military do in war zones. The main point is that war is a social institution and its experiences are plentiful and decentralized. Many scholars and other interested readers look for war in the decisions and movements of militaries and states, but this book's difference is that it focuses on how a variety of formal and informal war curators present the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq at a moment of American militarism"--
University of Iowa legend Willard L. “Sandy” Boyd is a proud middle westerner. His decades of service to the university began in 1954, when he arrived as a law professor. He later became president of the University of Iowa from 1969 to 1981, and led the school through times that were fraught not just for the university but for the country. During the intense polarization of the late sixties and early seventies, Sandy’s compassion and steady leadership ensured that dissent on campus would be honored and would not stop the university’s educational mission. He quickly became admired, not simply for his professional achievements but also for his personal integrity. His memoir, interspersed with personal wisdom gleaned over more than six decades of service and leadership, encapsulates Sandy’s shrewd yet optimistic view of the public university as an institution. At every stage in his life—in the U.S. Navy during World War II, while practicing law or teaching, and in leadership positions at Chicago’s Field Museum and the University of Iowa— Sandy relied on his principles of open disclosure, inclusiveness, and respect for differences to guide him on issues that matter. This chronicle of Sandy’s experiences throughout his life shows us the evolution both of the University of Iowa and of the nation writ large. More importantly, this book gives us a lens through which to examine our present situation, whether debating free speech on campus, the role of the arts and humanities in civil society, or the importance of funding for educational and cultural institutions.
Most historians rely principally on written sources. Yet there are other traces of the past available to historians: the material things that people have chosen, made, and used. This book examines how material culture can enhance historians' understanding of the past, both worldwide and across time. The successful use of material culture in history depends on treating material things of many kinds not as illustrations, but as primary evidence. Each kind of material thing-and there are many-requires the application of interpretive skills appropriate to it. These skills overlap with those acquired by scholars in disciplines that may abut history but are often relatively unfamiliar to historians, including anthropology, archaeology, and art history. Creative historians can adapt and apply the same skills they honed while studying more traditional text-based documents even as they borrow methods from these fields. They can think through familiar historical problems in new ways. They can also deploy material culture to discover the pasts of constituencies who have left few or no traces in written records. The authors of this volume contribute case studies arranged thematically in six sections that respectively address the relationship of history and material culture to cognition, technology, the symbolic, social distinction, and memory. They range across time and space, from Paleolithic to Punk.
Museum Objects provides a set of readings that together create a distinctive emphasis and perspective on the objects which lie at the heart of interpretive practice in museums, material culture studies and everyday life. This reader brings together classic and up to date texts on the nature and definition of the object itself, the senses and embodied experience of objects. No other volume brings together such perspectives in this way, and no other volume includes such a focus on the museum context. Museum Objects incorporates both theorised and more practical readings from a range of international academic and contextual perspectives. The overall result is a definitive set of readings that offers a comprehensive understanding of objects and their place within the museum context.
Anthropology has two main tasks: to understand what it is to be human and to examine how humanity is manifested differently in the diversity of culture. These tasks have gained new impetus from the extraordinary rise of the digital. This book brings together several key anthropologists working with digital culture to demonstrate just how productive an anthropological approach to the digital has already become. Through a range of case studies from Facebook to Second Life to Google Earth, Digital Anthropology explores how human and digital can be defined in relation to one another, from avatars and disability; cultural differences in how we use social networking sites or practise religion; the practical consequences of the digital for politics, museums, design, space and development to new online world and gaming communities. The book also explores the moral universe of the digital, from new anxieties to open-source ideals. Digital Anthropology reveals how only the intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life. Combining the clarity of a textbook with an engaging style which conveys a passion for these new frontiers of enquiry, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology, media studies, communication studies, cultural studies and sociology.
This edited volume critically engages with contemporary scholarship on museums and their engagement with the communities they purport to serve and represent. Foregrounding new curatorial strategies, it addresses a significant gap in the available literature, exploring some of the complex issues arising from recent approaches to collaboration between museums and their communities. The book unpacks taken-for-granted notions such as scholarship, community, participation and collaboration, which can gloss over the complexity of identities and lead to tokenistic claims of inclusion by museums. Over sixteen chapters, well-respected authors from the US, Australia and Europe offer a timely critique to address what happens when museums put community-minded principles into practice, challenging readers to move beyond shallow notions of political correctness that ignore vital difference in this contested field. Contributors address a wide range of key issues, asking pertinent questions such as how museums negotiate the complexities of integrating collaboration when the target community is a living, fluid, changeable mass of people with their own agendas and agency. When is engagement real as opposed to symbolic, who benefits from and who drives initiatives? What particular challenges and benefits do artist collaborations bring? Recognising the multiple perspectives of community participants is one thing, but how can museums incorporate this successfully into exhibition practice? Students of museum and cultural studies, practitioners and everyone who cares about museums around the world will find this volume essential reading.
The Journal of the Civil War Era Volume 3, Number 1 March 2013 TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor's Note William Blair Articles Amber D. Moulton Closing the "Floodgate of Impurity": Moral Reform, Antislavery, and Interracial Marriage in Antebellum Massachusetts Marc-William Palen The Civil War's Forgotten Transatlantic Tariff Debate and the Confederacy's Free Trade Diplomacy Joy M. Giguere "The Americanized Sphinx": Civil War Commemoration, Jacob Bigelow, and the Sphinx at Mount Auburn Cemetery Review Essay Enrico Dal Lago Lincoln, Cavour, and National Unification: American Republicanism and Italian Liberal Nationalism in Comparative Perspective Professional Notes James J. Broomall The Interpretation Is A-Changin': Memory, Museums, and Public History in Central Virginia Book Reviews Books Received Notes on Contributors The Journal of the Civil War Era takes advantage of the flowering of research on the many issues raised by the sectional crisis, war, Reconstruction, and memory of the conflict, while bringing fresh understanding to the struggles that defined the period, and by extension, the course of American history in the nineteenth century.
Science fairs, clubs, and talent searches are familiar fixtures in American education, yet little is known about why they began and grew in popularity. In Science Education and Citizenship, Sevan G. Terzian traces the civic purposes of these extracurricular programs for youth over four decades in the early to mid-twentieth century. He argues that Americans' mobilization for World War Two reoriented these educational activities from scientific literacy to national defense a shift that persisted in the ensuing atomic age and has left a lasting legacy in American science education.
This book explores the origins and development of museums and heritage sites in Bulgaria (1856-2006) in relation to societal change and major historic events. It seeks to determine the key factors that promoted museum building, and pinpoint the key individuals who were involved. Original and archival sources, interviews, observations and field visits have provided a rich dataset which has been analysed to reveal how systems of power, politics and social control affected how museums were created and subsequently managed. Furthermore the Bulgarian case is situated within a broader European context and comparisons are made with the museum institutions in different countries in order to determine any specifics and particularities of Bulgarian museum building and operation. The book demonstrates how different administrations have used museums to promote their own political views of the nation's cultural identity, and in particular how the strategies employed by the Communist regime continue to influence the museum sector today. The major contribution of this book lies in its use of archival documents. This has resulted in a different account of the formation of Bulgarian museums, on some occasions contradicting accepted histories. It also introduces the little known Bulgarian museology to a wider audience, which is seen to be important at a point in time when Bulgaria has become part of the European Union.
This is the biography of a set of rare Buddhist statues from China. Their extraordinary adventures take them from the Buddhist temples of fifteenth-century Putuo – China's most important pilgrimage island – to their seizure by a British soldier in the First Opium War in the early 1840s, and on to a starring role in the Great Exhibition of 1851. In the 1850s, they moved in and out of dealers' and antiquarian collections, arriving in 1867 at Liverpool Museum. Here they were re-conceptualized as specimens of the 'Mongolian race' and, later, as examples of Oriental art. The statues escaped the bombing of the Museum during the Second World War and lived out their existence for the next sixty years, dismembered, corroding and neglected in the stores, their histories lost and origins unknown. As the curator of Asian collections at Liverpool Museum, the author became fascinated by these bronzes, and selected them for display in the Buddhism section of the World Cultures gallery. In 2005, quite by chance, the discovery of a lithograph of the figures on prominent display in the Great Exhibition enabled the remarkable lives of these statues to be reconstructed.
In this classic study of the relationship between technology and culture, Miles Orvell demonstrates that the roots of contemporary popular culture reach back to the Victorian era, when mechanical replications of familiar objects reigned supreme and realism dominated artistic representation. Reacting against this genteel culture of imitation, a number of artists and intellectuals at the turn of the century were inspired by the machine to create more authentic works of art that were themselves "real things." The resulting tension between a culture of imitation and a culture of authenticity, argues Orvell, has become a defining category in our culture. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition includes a new preface by the author, looking back on the late twentieth century and assessing tensions between imitation and authenticity in the context of our digital age. Considering material culture, photography, and literature, the book touches on influential figures such as writers Walt Whitman, Henry James, John Dos Passos, and James Agee; photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evans, and Margaret Bourke-White; and architect-designers Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright.
In the past, museums often changed the meaning of icons or statues of deities from sacred to aesthetic, or used them to declare the superiority of Western society, or simply as cultural and historical evidence. The last generation has seen faith groups demanding to control 'their' objects, and curators recognising that objects can only be understood within their original religious context. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in the role religion plays in museums, with major exhibitions highlighting the religious as well as the historical nature of objects. Using examples from all over the world, Religious Objects in Museums is the first book to examine how religious objects are transformed when they enter the museum, and how they affect curators and visitors. It examines the full range of meanings that religious objects may bear - as scientific specimen, sacred icon, work of art, or historical record. Showing how objects may be used to argue a point, tell a story or promote a cause, may be worshipped, ignored, or seen as dangerous or unlucky, this highly accessible book is an essential introduction to the subject.
"Museums and Popular Culture seeks to unravel the paradox that to adequately reflect popular culture museums may need to abandon their traditional form. This is a book which no one interested in museums can afford to ignore."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Science by British Association for the Advancement of Science