Museum Materialities: Objects, Engagements, Interpretations

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Overview

This is an innovative interdisciplinary book about objects and people within museums and galleries. It addresses fundamental issues of human sensory, emotional and aesthetic experience of objects. The chapters explore ways and contexts in which things and people mutually interact, and raise questions about how objects carry meaning and feeling, the distinctions between objects and persons, particular qualities of the museum as context for person-object engagements, and the active and embodied role of the museum visitor.

Museum Materialities is divided into three sections – Objects, Engagements and Interpretations – and includes a foreword by Susan Pearce and an afterword by Howard Morphy. It examines materiality and other perceptual and ontological qualities of objects themselves; embodied sensory and cognitive engagements – both personal and across a wider audience spread – with particular objects or object types in a museum or gallery setting; notions of aesthetics, affect and wellbeing in museum contexts; and creative and innovative artistic and museum practices that seek to illuminate or critique museum objects and interpretations.

Phenomenological and other approaches to embodied experience in an emphatically material world are current in a number of academic areas, most particularly strands of material culture studies within anthropology and cognate disciplines. Thus far, however, there has been no concerted application of this kind of approach to museum collections and interactions with them by museum visitors, curators, artists and researchers. Bringing together essays by scholars and practitioners from a wide disciplinary and international base, Museum Materialities seeks to make just such a contribution. In so doing it makes a valuable and original addition to the literature of both material culture studies and museum studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415492188
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/11/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 0.67 (w) x 0.97 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures ix

List of contributors xi

Foreword Susan M. Pearce xiv

1 Museum materialities: objects, sense and feeling Sandra H. Dudley 1

Part 1 Objects Sandra H. Dudley 19

2 Photographs and history: emotion and materiality Elizabeth Edwards 21

3 Remembering the dead by affecting the living: the case of a miniature model of Treblinka Andrea Witcomb 39

4 Touching the Buddha: encounters with a charismatic object Christopher Wingfield 53

5 Contemporary art: an immaterial practice? Helen Pheby 71

6 The eyes have it: eye movements and the debatable differences between original objects and reproductions Helen Saunderson Alice Cruickshank Eugene McSorley 89

Part 2 Engagements Sandra H. Dudley 99

7 Experiencing materiality in the museum: artefacts re-made Alexander Stevenson 103

8 Virginia woolf's glasses: material encounters in the literary/artistic house museum Nuala Hancock 114

9 When ethnographies enter art galleries Lydia Nakashima Degarrod 128

10 Engaging the material world: object knowledge and Australian Journeys Kirsten Wehner Martha Sear 143

11 Watch your step: embodiment and encounter at Tate Modern Helen Rees Leahy 162

12 Reconsidering digital surrogates: toward a viewer-orientated model of the gallery experience Bradley L. Taylor 175

Part 3 Interpretations Sandra H. Dudley 185

13 Dancing pot and pregnant jar? On ceramics, metaphors and creative labels Wing Yan Vivian Ting 189

14 Myth, memory and the senses in the Churchill Museum Sheila Watson 204

15 Dreams and wishes: the multi-sensory museum space Viv Golding 224

16 Making meaning beyond display Chris Dorsett 241

17 Authenticityand object relations in contemporary performance art Klare Scarborough 260

Afterword Howard Morphy 275

Index 286

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