Over recent decades, many museums, galleries and historic sites around the world have enjoyed an unprecedented level of large-scale investment in their capital infrastructure, in building refurbishments and new gallery displays. This period has also seen the creation of countless new purpose-built museums and galleries, suggesting a fundamental re-evaluation of the processes of designing and shaping of museums.
Museum Making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions examines this re-making by exploring the inherently spatial character of narrative in the museum and its potential to connect on the deepest levels with human perception and imagination. Through this uniting theme, the chapters explore the power of narratives as structured experiences unfolding in space and time as well as the use of theatre, film and other technologies of storytelling by contemporary museum makers to generate meaningful and, it is argued here, highly effective and affective museum spaces. Contributions by an internationally diverse group of museum and heritage professionals, exhibition designers, architects and artists with academics from a range of disciplines including museum studies, theatre studies, architecture, design and history cut across traditional boundaries including the historical and the contemporary and together explore the various roles and functions of narrative as a mechanism for the creation of engaging and meaningful interpretive environments.
Introduction PartI: Narrative and Space Part II: Narrative and Perception Part III: Narrative, Media, Mediation
Museums have undergone enormous changes in recent decades; an ongoing process of renewal and transformation bringing with it changes in priority, practice and role as well as new expectations, philosophies, imperatives and tensions that continue to attract attention from those working in, and drawing upon, wide ranging disciplines.
Museum Meanings presents new research that explores diverse aspects of the shifting social, cultural and political significance of museums and their agency beyond, as well as within, the cultural sphere. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international perspectives and empirical investigation are brought to bear on the exploration of museums’ relationships with their various publics (and analysis of the ways in which museums shape – and are shaped by – such interactions).
Theoretical perspectives might be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, art and art history, learning and communication, media studies, architecture and design and material culture studies amongst others. Museums are understood very broadly – to include art galleries, historic sites and other cultural heritage institutions – as are their relationships with diverse constituencies.
The focus on the relationship of the museum to its publics shifts the emphasis from objects and collections and the study of museums as text, to studies grounded in the analysis of bodies and sites; identities and communities; ethics, moralities and politics.