Museums and the interpretation of visual culture

HOOPER-GREENHILL Eilean

Museums and the interpretation of visual culture

London : Routledge, 2000, 1 vol. (xiv-195 p).

Collection Museum meanings ; 4.

ISBN 0-415-08632-9

MOND 502

Résumé :

Museums and the interpretation of visual culture focuses on objects and meaning in the museum. How do museum visitors interpret the collections they see on display, and how are these interpretations influenced by the pedagogic approach taken by the  museum ? Questions about the character of visual narratives, cultural difference and the cosntruction of identities present the museum as part of cultural politics. A new museum idea – the post-museum – is about to transform the familiar modernist museum.
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill explores specific objetcs and collections in detail : the founding collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London ; Hinemihi, a Maori meeting house in Surrey ; the Maori collections and the books of Markereti (Margaret Staples-Browne) and of Merton Russel-Cotes ; and the Lakota Ghost Dance Shirt formerly in Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. The construction of meaning from material things is discussed in relation to individual interpretive processes and also to interpretive communities. Museum pedagogy is analysed, with a transmission approach to exhibition being linked to the modernist museum and a cultural and constructivist approach emerging in the post-museum.
This is a multi-disciplinary study that adopts an innovative and original approach to a highly topical question : that of meaning-making in museums. Focusing its attention on pedagogy and visual culture, this work asks a lot of questions – How and why is it that museums select and arrange artefacts, shape knowledge, construct a view ? How do museums produce values ? How do active audiences make meaning from what they experience in museums ? – and the author does not claim to answer them all ; instead she is putting these issues on the agenda and hopes to provoke new thought and discussion on a subject that is growing in importance every day.

Eilean Hooper-Greenhill has taught in schools, colleges, museums and galleries. She has been lecturing in the Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester since 1980, took over as Head of Department in 1996 and is now professor. Her principal publications are Museums and the shaping of knowledge (Routledge, 1992), Museums an their visitors (Routledge, 1994) and her edited collections are Museum, media, message (Routledge, 1995) and The educational role of museums (2nd edn, Routledge, 1999).

Table des matières :

1. Culture and meaning in the museum
2. Picturing the ancestors and imag(in)ing the nation : the collections of the first decade of the National Portrait Gallery, London
3. Speaking for herself ? Hinemihi and her discourses
4. Words and things : constructing narratives, constructing the self
5. Objects and interpretive processes
6. Exhibitions and interpretations : museum pedagogy and cultural change
7. The rebirth of the museum

Axe de recherches :

  • Axe transversal : Cultures visuelles

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