Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum by Sharon Macdonald

By Sharon Macdonald

What is going on in the back of closed doorways at museums? How are judgements approximately exhibitions made and who, or what, relatively makes them? Why are sure items and varieties of demonstrate selected while others are rejected, and what elements impression how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This e-book solutions those looking out questions via giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technological know-how Museum in London. by way of monitoring the historical past of a specific exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the area of the museum curator and indicates in vibrant element how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She finds why exhibitions don't consistently mirror their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, in spite of the fact that, the publication additionally presents huge and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and international political shifts impression the construction of public wisdom via exhibitions

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Strathern’s discussion of what she calls ‘auto-anthropology’ (1987) highlights some of the particular difficulties which may be involved where the anthropologist shares cultural presuppositions with the people being studied. I have discussed this and ‘parallel context ethnography’ further with reference to my work in the Science Museum in Macdonald 1997. 10. g. of persons, things or metaphors) as a means of avoiding predefining the boundaries of what is being studied. 11. Handler and Gable 1997: 9.

A report on the national museums by the Museums and Galleries Commission in 1988 described a troubling state of affairs even before this latest financial ‘crisis’: The funding gap is serious, and has had adverse consequences in all the national museums, which have had to leave unfilled varying numbers of posts in their complements (though these were determined after 32 Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum Government staff inspections). The effects are lamentably to be seen in terms of closed galleries, reduced security, curtailed opening hours or days.

On the other, the financial difficulties led to increasing problems in meeting the needs of the collections and of the public (as the Museums and Galleries Commission report quoted above suggested). 60 A New ‘High Priest’ and ‘Cultural Revolution’ in the Science Museum Directors of National Museums, appointed by the government and now on fixed term five-year contracts, were vested with greater responsibilities and potentially greater powers in the new managerial arrangements. Dr Neil Cossons was appointed as Director of the Science Museum in April 1986.

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