Civilizing the Museum: The Collected Works of Elaine Heumann Gurian / Edition 1

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Written over a thirty-five year career, the essays in Civilizing the Museum introduce students to the powerful, sometimes contested, and often unrealized notion that museums should welcome all because they house the collective memory of all.

Drawing on her experience working in and with museums in the US and throughout the world, Author Elaine Heumann Gurian explores the possibilities for making museums more central and relevant to society.

The twenty-two essays are organized around five main themes:

* museum definitions
* civic responsibility and social service
* architectural spaces
* exhibitions
* spirituality and rationality.

And these themes address the elements that would make museums more inclusive such as:

* exhibition technique
* space configurations
* the personality of the director
* the role of social service
* power sharing
* types of museums
* the need for emotion humour and spirituality.

Without abandoning the traditional museum processes, Gurian shows how museums can honour tradition whilst embracing the new.

Enriched by her experience in groundbreaking museums, Gurian has provided a book that provokes thought, dialogue and action for students and professionals in the field to realize the inclusive potential of museums.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Reading this book is like watching a time-lapse film, probably animated, of museums as seen from the inside. Gurian has collected her essays and past speeches into five broad discussions, each spanning many years and each revealing, not just philosophy, but practical actions.' - Journal of Management

'[Heumann Gurian is] an indispensible and eloquent champion of aligning museum practice with museum rhetoric ... this is a rich vein of thoughtful analysis and prescription, rooted in the realities of museum practice and illuminated with telling anecdotes and lessons from Gurian's career.' - Curator: The Museum Journal

'[Gurian] represents the social and moral conscience of the museum community ... The book is very much an invitation to a younger generation of practitioners to reflect on where museums have been and where they might be going, with the express desire that they might pick up the mantle and continue to fight the battle. It is an invitation to which we all should respond.' – Journal of the National Museum of Australia

'An excellent historical review... an important museological record.' - Visitor Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415357623
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : reflections on 35 years in the museum field 1
1 The concept of fairness : a debate at the American Association of Museums, 1990 11
2 The importance of "and" : a comment on excellence and equity, 1992 14
3 The molting of children's museums? : an observation, 1998 19
4 What is the object of this exercise? : a meandering exploration of the many meanings of objects in museums, 1999 33
5 Choosing among the options : an opinion about museum definitions, 2002 48
6 Timeliness : a discussion for museums, 2003 57
7 The museum as a socially responsible institution, 1988 69
8 Turning the ocean liner slowly : about the process of change in larger institutions, 1990 76
9 The opportunity for social service, 1991 82
10 A savings bank for the soul : about institutions of memory and congregant spaces, 1996 88
11 Function follows form : how mixed-used spaces in museums build community, 2001 99
12 Threshold fear : architecture program planning, 2005 115
13 Free at last : a case for the elimination of admission charges in museums, 2005 127
14 Answers to the ten questions I am most often asked : a review of exhibitions and learning, 1981 137
15 Noodling around with exhibition opportunities : the potential meanings of exhibition modalities, 1991 150
16 Let's empower all those who have a stake in exhibitions : about the uses, meaning, and failings of the team approach, 1990 162
17 Reluctant recognition of the superstar : a paean to individual brilliance, and how it operates, 1992 167
18 A blurring of the boundaries, 1994 171
19 The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum : history or metaphor? 1993 180
20 A Jew among the Indians : how working outside of one's own culture works, 1991 189
21 Repatriation in context : the important changes brought to museums by indigenous communities, 1991 194
22 Singing and dancing at night : a biographic meaning to working in the spiritual arena, 2004 200
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