By Sharon Macdonald
What is going on at the back of closed doorways at museums? How are judgements approximately exhibitions made and who, or what, rather makes them? Why are definite gadgets and sorts of exhibit selected while others are rejected, and what components impact how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This publication solutions those looking questions via giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technological know-how Museum in London. through monitoring the heritage of a specific exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the area of the museum curator and indicates in brilliant element how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She unearths why exhibitions don't continually replicate their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, notwithstanding, the ebook additionally presents large and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and worldwide political shifts effect the production of public wisdom via exhibitions
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Extra info for Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum
Trustees are persons drawn from those in Britain known as ‘the great and the good’ – individuals who collectively would bring to bear expertise deemed relevant to the running of a museum. In the case of the Science Museum (or, more properly, the National Museum of Science and Industry),32 there was in 1988 a thirteen-strong all-male board consisting of a mix of industrialists, such as Sir Austin Pearce CBE (who was the Chair of the board), Sir John Harvey-Jones (famous for his success at ICI and for his management ideas) and public worthies (including His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent).
For the established museums, of which the Science Museum was one, this rash of mostly independently run museums was both encouraging in that it suggested that ‘the museum idea’ had not become as passé and defunct as some had thought, and worrying in that the new museums posed a challenge to the established museum idea through their use of unfamiliar display strategies and in the capacity of many of them to attract visitors who might otherwise have attended the established museums. There were two main types of these new independent museums, with a variety of hybrids between the two including new local authority museums (such as the North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish, County Durham).
Particularly for those working in existing and long-standing museum buildings, however, the architecture of earlier visions can prove an impediment to implementing their own, and objects can behave obdurately, as we shall see in some of the ethnography below. 24 Given the multifaceted and potentially conflictual nature of their task this is not surprising. 25 This particular article in The Observer focused on the financial problems facing national museums, problems which arose from a combination of changed arrangements for funding museums and declining money available to them.
Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum by Sharon Macdonald