Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage / Edition 1

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Overview


Destination Culture takes the reader on an eye-opening journey from ethnological artifacts to kitsch. Posing the question, "What does it mean to show?" Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett explores the agency of display in a variety of settings: museums, festivals, world's fairs, historical re-creations, memorials, and tourist attractions. She talks about how objects—and people—are made to "perform" their meaning for us by the very fact of being collected and exhibited, and about how specific techniques of display, not just the things shown, convey powerful messages.

Her engaging analysis shows how museums compete with tourism in the production of "heritage." To make themselves profitable, museums are marketing themselves as tourist attractions. To make locations into destinations, tourism is staging the world as a museum of itself. Both promise to deliver heritage. Although heritage is marketed as something old, she argues that heritage is actually a new mode of cultural production that gives a second life to dying ways of life, economies, and places. The book concludes with a lively commentary on the "good taste/bad taste" debate in the ephemeral "museum of the life world," where everyone is a curator of sorts and the process of converting life into heritage begins.

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Editorial Reviews

Tom Vanderbilt
A provocative field guide for a time when history is a cable channel and we are all, even at home, beginning to feel like tourists.
Bookforum
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520209664
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 311
  • Sales rank: 927,787
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author


Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is Professor of Performance Studies and of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Agency of Display
Objects of Ethnography 17
Exhibiting Jews 79
Pt. 2 A Second Life as Heritage
Destination Museum 131
Ellis Island 177
Plimoth Plantation 189
Pt. 3 Undoing the Ethnographic
Confusing Pleasures 203
Secrets of Encounter 249
Pt. 4 Circulating Value
Disputing Taste 259
Notes
Index
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