By Sharon Macdonald
What is going on in the back of closed doorways at museums? How are judgements approximately exhibitions made and who, or what, fairly makes them? Why are convinced gadgets and sorts of show selected while others are rejected, and what elements impact how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This booklet solutions those looking out questions through giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technological know-how Museum in London. via monitoring the heritage of a specific exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the realm of the museum curator and indicates in bright aspect how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She finds why exhibitions don't constantly mirror their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, in spite of the fact that, the booklet additionally offers large and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and worldwide political shifts impact the production of public wisdom via exhibitions
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Additional info for Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum
These are chapters about struggles with authorship and materialising dreams, about conflicting demands and desires (between ‘object love’ and ‘clear messages’, for example), about how a final exhibition may be subtly and unexpectedly shaped along the way by matters which may have seemed trivial or been taken for granted at the time. Chapter eight moves to the exhibition’s reception by visitors. Here my aim is to explore not only congruencies with and differences from the virtual visitor imagined during the construction of the exhibition but also the frameworks within which visitors ‘read’, and physically engage with the exhibition, and to some extent, as I argue, with exhibitions (especially those of science) more generally.
Due to difficulties over securing a site and the interruption to all plans on account of the First World War, it was to be more than a decade before the East Hall was finally opened; even then, all of the projected buildings had not been completed. 5 It took until 1961, however, for the Central Block to be completed, and more than thirty more years for a projected West Block to be even started. International comparisons since have continued to be one impetus in the Science Museum’s self-conception, as they are for all national museums.
47 38 Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum Challenge and the Museum Renaissance In the 1980s there was also a massive increase in the overall number of museums. 53 Similar escalations in numbers of museums were occurring across much of western Europe, in the United States and Japan, and increasingly in much of the rest of the globe. 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.
Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum by Sharon Macdonald