By Sharon Macdonald
What is going on in the back of closed doorways at museums? How are judgements approximately exhibitions made and who, or what, quite makes them? Why are yes items and varieties of exhibit selected when others are rejected, and what elements impression how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This publication solutions those looking questions by means of giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technology Museum in London. by means of monitoring the historical past of a selected exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the realm of the museum curator and indicates in bright element how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She finds why exhibitions don't continually replicate their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, despite the fact that, the booklet additionally offers large and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and worldwide political shifts impact the construction of public wisdom via exhibitions.
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Additional info for Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (Materializing Culture)
In their aim to show general scientific principles, and in their exclusion of any kind of context, these science centres (which did not use the term ‘museum’) were in some respects an inversion of the industrial heritage movement. They were nevertheless likewise very popular and were an encouraging development for museums of science and industry in that they seemed to indicate a popular interest in science. Several museums of science and industry also incorporated areas on the same principles, the Science Museum’s Launch Pad, 1986, being the first; others included Xperiment!
One misunderstanding concerned my use of inverted commas. It is worth noting here as an example of a particular problem of fieldwork conducted in the same language in which it is written about. In addition to using inverted commas in ways common to many kinds of writing (to indicate a quote, a term or a technical concept), I also use inverted commas to indicate (especially on the first instance or where this is not necessarily clear from the context) terms which were used in the local case. In other words, these are ‘indigenous terms’, even though they may be very familiar to the reader.
2. Where I use Museum with a capital M, I am referring to the Science Museum. 3. Similar worries were shared by researchers on some of the other Public Understanding of Science projects ongoing at the time. As we came to realise, however, this apparent ‘disappearance’ of science was an important feature of the ways in which it was locally contextualised. Alan Irwin and Brian Wynne, in a volume bringing together some of the work on the Public Understanding of Science programme, observe that: ‘the “disappearance” of science does not mean that it serves an unimportant role in such situations – it is more that “science” as a category blurs into other areas of social practice and contestation’ (Irwin and Wynne 1996a: 13).
Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (Materializing Culture) by Sharon Macdonald