Interpreting Objects in the Hybrid Museum: Convergence, Collections and Cultural Policy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Interpreting Objects in the Hybrid Museum

Convergence, Collections and Cultural Policy, 1st Edition

By Helena Robinson


136 pages

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Hardback: 9781138318694
pub: 2019-03-12
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Interpreting Objects in the Hybrid Museum examines the recent trend for converged collecting institutions and uses its investigation as a catalyst for critical reflection by all stakeholders on the risks, as well as advantages, of integration for cultural engagement.

Drawing on three case studies of restructured cultural organisations in Australia and New Zealand, Robinson provides valuable insights into the conceptual and practical ways in which hybridised collecting institutions operate. Reflecting on the ultimate value of converged institutions for the communities they serve, the book uncovers the dangers of misalignment between bureaucratic decision-making and the creation of cultural meaning. Actively contesting policy assumptions about the benefits of integrating museums with other kinds of cultural institutions, the book’s analysis of empirical evidence provides an important counterbalance by exposing the impacts of supposedly benign structural changes to museum organisations on fundamental processes of research, documentation and contextualisation of collections.

Interpreting Objects in the Hybrid Museumhighlights the consequences of policy decisions on the distinctive interpretive role of museums. As such, the book should be of interest to a range of academic and professional audiences, including scholars and students in the fields of museum and heritage studies, library and archival science, cultural studies and politics. It should also be essential reading for cultural heritage practitioners working across the museum, heritage, library, archive and gallery sectors.

Table of Contents

Introduction: hybrid futures?

1 GLAM convergence: genealogy of a concept

2 Same same but different: rhetorics of knowledge in the convergence debate

3 Process conflict: interpreting museum collections within the convergence context

4 Mixed messages: organisational structure and management of convergence

Interpretive sustainability in the hybrid institution

About the Author

Helena Robinson is a lecturer with the Museum and Heritage Studies program at the University of Sydney, Australia.

About the Series

Museums in Focus

Committed to the articulation of big, even risky, ideas in short-format publications, Museums In Focus challenges authors and readers to experiment with, innovate, and press museums and the intellectual frameworks through which we view these. It offers a platform for approaches that radically rethink the relationships between cultural and intellectual dissent and crisis and debates about museums, politics and the broader public sphere.

Museums In Focus is motivated by the intellectual hypothesis that museums are not innately ‘useful’, safe’ or even ‘public’ places, and that recalibrating our thinking about them might benefit from adopting a more radical and oppositional form of logic and approach. Examining this problem requires a level of comfort with (or at least tolerance of) the idea of crisis, dissent, protest and radical thinking, and authors might benefit from considering how cultural and intellectual crisis, regeneration and anxiety have been dealt with in other disciplines and contexts.

Books published in the series are between 30,000 and 50,000 words in length and fully refereed.  If you would like to discuss submitting a proposal, please contact the series editor: [email protected]

Further information about Professor Message's work can be found here:

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Museum Studies
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology