© 2006 – Routledge
Answering key questions in the study of how museums communicate, Louise Ravelli provides a set of frameworks to investigate the complexities of communication in museums:
* What is an appropriate level of complexity for a written label?
* Why do some choice in language make a more direct relation to visitors?
* Is there a correct way of presenting a particular view of content?
* How do design practices contribute to the overall meanings being made?
The frameworks enhance the way we critically analyze and understand museums text, both in the sense of conventional – written texts in museums – and in an expanded sense of the museum as a whole operating as a communicative text.
Using a wide range of examples Ravelli argues that communication contributes fundamentally to what a museum is, who it relates to and what it stands for.
Not only museum studies and communications studies students, but also professionals in the field will find Museum Texts an indispensable guide on communication frameworks.
1. Introduction: Texts, Frameworks and Meanings 2. Organization as a Way of Making Meaning: Using Language to Organize, Shape and Connect 3. Focus: Making Texts Accessible: Adjusting the Level of Complexity 4. Interacting In and Through Language: Using Language to Relate, Engage and Evaluate 5. Representing the World through Language: Using Language to Portray, Interpret and Construct 6. Extending the Frameworks: Understanding Exhibitions and Museums as Texts 7. Conclusion: Integrating the Frameworks
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.