Focusing on how museums prioritize and produce content, Hip Heritage demonstrates how economic issues play an ever-larger role in determining how cultural heritage is being framed and presented in contemporary heritage museums.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted by the authors at seven museums over the course of five years, this book offers an in-depth analysis of heritage museums in Nordic, Scandinavian and North American contexts. It investigates how economic realities, coupled with the cultural contexts in which museums operate, affect how these institutions organize, manage and develop their collections to make themselves relevant in society. Once charged with the primary task of educating citizens about their cultural identity and history, national museums and heritage organizations are also under pressure to rethink their market demands and meet stakeholders’ increasing interest in growing visitor numbers and expanding economic returns. Simultaneously, many museums are part of a cultural sector with diminished public funding and increased competition for the existing financing. Against this background, this book questions: ‘When the budget is tight, whose heritage counts most?’ It considers museums as arenas for heritage politics in action on the local, national and international levels, as well as at the institutional level.
Hip Heritage will appeal to scholars and students engaged in the study of ethnology heritage, museum studies, marketing, leisure and tourism, public folklore, and sociology.
Chapter 1. Introduction: Challenges and opportunities for museums working in contemporary hybrid markets; Chapter 2. Hip Heritage: Rethinking heritage in the museum; Chapter 3. Exit Through the Gift Shop: Commercial curating and the packaging of Swedish culture for the heritage market; Chapter 4. Mandatory Collaboration: Consultants, craftsmen, and other heritage makers; Chapter 5. Not Hip Enough? The opening and closing of the Museum of Movements; Chapter 6. Conclusions