1st Edition

Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value

Edited By Howard Morphy, Robyn McKenzie Copyright 2022
    298 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    298 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value focuses on the ways in which museums and the use of their collections have contributed to, and continue to be engaged with, value creation processes.

    Including chapters from many of the leading figures in museum anthropology, as well as from outstanding early-career researchers, this volume presents a diverse range of international case studies that bridge the gap between theory and practice. It demonstrates that ethnographic collections and the museums that hold and curate them have played a central role in the value creation processes that have changed attitudes to cultural differences. The essays engage richly with many of the important issues of contemporary museum discourse and practice. They show how collections exist at the ever-changing point of articulation between the source communities and the people and cultures of the museum and challenge presentist critiques of museums that position them as locked into the time that they emerged.

    Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value provides examples of the productive outcomes of collaborative work and relationships, showing how they can be mutually beneficial. The book will be of great interest to researchers and students engaged in the study of museums and heritage, anthropology, culture, Indigenous peoples, postcolonialism, history and sociology. It will also be of interest to museum professionals.

    List of Figures

    List of Contributors


    Howard Morphy and Robyn McKenzie

    Section I Making and Remaking of Collections

    Chapter 1 Inalienable patrimony and museums: re-valuing the MacGregor collection

    Anna Edmundson

    Chapter 2 The emergence of value in the process of the Sámi repatriation: Bååstede

    Gro Ween

    Chapter 3 Colonial collections in British military museums: of objects, materiality and sentiment

    Henrietta Lidchi and Nicole M. Hartwell

    Chapter 4 Rephotography as a value creation technology in the nineteenth century: collecting, reproducing and exchanging

    Christopher Morton

    Section II Creating Value – Inside and Outside the Museum

    Chapter 5 Aboriginal secret-sacred objects, their values and future prospects

    Jason M. Gibson

    Chapter 6 Systems of value in Vanuatu: reflections on the Ambae textile complex

    Lissant Bolton

    Chapter 7 Displaying, creating and mobilizing value in a museum exhibition: Pacific Currents in Cambridge

    Anita Herle

    Chapter 8 The revaluation of historical collections by source communities: the string figures of Yirrkala

    Robyn McKenzie

    Section III Engagement and Return

    Chapter 9 ‘Go throw it in the river’, shifting values and the productive confusions of collaboration with museum collections

    Joshua A. Bell

    Chapter 10 Digital return of an ethnographic museum collection and value creation by an originating community in Baguia, Timor-Leste

    Joanna Barrkman

    Chapter 11 Digital/object/beings and 3D replication in the intercultural museum context: have you socialized your clones?

    Gwyneira Isaac

    Section IV Indigenous Agency

    Chapter 12 Value creation and museums from an Indigenous perspective

    Jilda Andrews

    Chapter 13 Yolŋu pathways to value creation in museum and archival collections: the work and journey of Joseph Gumbula

    Jessica de Largy Healy

    Chapter 14 Creating value through cultural capital: ‘Witira Kanyila – "work as one to make it strong"’

    Chrischona Schmidt



    Howard Morphy is Emeritus Professor in the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University.

    Robyn McKenzie is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian National University working on the Australian Research Council funded project The Relational Museum and its Objects: engaging Indigenous Australian communities with their distributed collections.