The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Museum closures

Continuing the recent theme, here's a recent article by Tristram Hunt (an 'Attic' favourite, I believe) bemoaning the current spate of museum closures and collection sell-offs. The link is interesting for the reader comments alone, many of which reveal contemporary ideas and misconceptions about museums and galleries - and the museums profession.

1 comment:

Ceri said...

What a depressing article and I could not read many of the comments that followed it especially the one where they trotted out all the usual tired adjectives, 'politically correct', 'dumbing down' blah blah in response to museums trying to be different in how they present their collections... do these people have no new arguments to offer for the reasons why museums should not try to attract broader audiences?

It makes me wonder why people are so resistent to more interpretation or unusual methods such as asking a pupils to give their opinion (one commentator likens this to a parent's evening display - how snobbish!). Surely if you do not want to read the new interpretation you can ignore it like I happily ignore the listening devices in museums and galleries which I really dislike because they individualise the experience when I think museum visiting should be social. I do not feel obliged to comment however on my dislike of these devices nor criticise the museum for it. It is simply another way of interpreting a space. What do people fear? They fear the loss of their own feeling perhaps of 'elitism' because they understand something that other people do not... they lose that 'specialness' of being alone in the gallery pontificating on the wonder of things (when in reality this way of doing things only causes more museums to be closed down because there are not enough visitors). After reading Baudrillard I am beginning to understand the 'fear' that through excess and saturation - and this also may apply to enabling the masses to access something to 'excess' - things lose their meaning, perhaps their magic and become one amongst many things. I see no reason however why something cannot be special BECAUSE it is enjoyed by everyone and not by a sacred few.