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Professional, Legal, and Ethical Perspectives
Cultural property and its stewardship have long been concerns of museums, archaeologists, art historians, and nations, but recently the legal and political consequences of collecting antiquities have also attracted broad media attention. This has been the result, in part, of several high-profile trials, as well as demands by various governments for the return of antiquities to their countries of origin. These circumstances call out for public discussion that moves beyond the rather clear-cut moral response to looting, to consider the implications of buying, selling, and exhibiting antiquities. To whom should they belong? What constitutes legal ownership of antiquities? What laws govern their importation into the United States, for instance? What circumstances, if any, demand the return of those antiquities to their countries of origin? Is there a consensus among archaeologists and museum directors about these issues? These and other pertinent issues are addressed in the essays and responses collected in this volume. Delivered at a 2007 symposium by eminent museum directors and curators, legal scholars, archaeologists, and historians and practitioners of art and architecture, these papers comprise a rich and nuanced reference work.
Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity
Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan approaches questions of origin, citizenry, membership, and difference by reconstructing the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated. In doing so, she arrives at a deeper understanding of the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.
Spanning the Porfiriato period from 1867 to 1910, Collecting Mexico illuminates the creation and institutionalization of a Mexican cultural inheritance. Employing a wide range of examples—including the erection of public monuments, the culture of fine arts, and the representation of Mexico at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889—Garrigan pursues two strands of thought that weave together in surprising ways: national heritage as a transcendental value and patrimony as potential commercial interest.
Collecting Mexico shows that the patterns of institutional collecting reveal how Mexican public collections engendered social meaning. Using extensive archival materials, Garrigan’s close readings of the processes of collection building offer a new vantage point for viewing larger issues of identity, social position, and cultural/capital exchange.
The Struggle to Build an Outdoor History Museum of Ethnic Architecture
With its charming heirloom gardens, historic livestock breeds, and faithfully recreated farmsteads and villages that span nearly 600 acres, Old World Wisconsin is the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States. But this seemingly time-frozen landscape of rustic outbuildings and rolling wooded hills did not effortlessly spring into existence, as John D. Krugler maintains in Creating Old World Wisconsin. As dozens of historic buildings were transported in the 1970s from various locations throughout the state to the Kettle Moraine State Forest, researchers, curators, and volunteers launched a massive preservation initiative to salvage fast-disappearing immigrant and migrant architecture. Researchers, curators, and volunteers created a backdrop against which twenty-first century interpreters demonstrate nineteenth- and early twentieth-century agricultural techniques and artisanal craftsmanship. The site, created and maintained by the Wisconsin Historical Society, offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the state's rich and ethnically diverse past through depictions of the everyday lives of its Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Polish, African American, and Yankee inhabitants. Creating Old World Wisconsin chronicles the fascinating and complex origins of this outdoor museum, highlighting the struggles that faced its creators as they worked to achieve their vision. Even as Milwaukee architect and preservationist Richard W. E. Perrin, the Society's staff, and enthusiastic volunteers opened the museum in time for the national bicentennial in 1976, the site was plagued by limited funds, bureaucratic tangles, and problems associated with gaining public support. By documenting the engaging story of the challenges, roadblocks, false starts, and achievements of the site's founders, Krugler brings to life the history of the dedicated corps who collected and preserved Wisconsin's diverse social history and heritage.
Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts
Arts organizations once sought patrons primarily from among the wealthy and well educated, but for many decades now they have revised their goals as they seek to broaden their audiences. Today, museums, orchestras, dance companies, theaters, and community cultural centers try to involve a variety of people in the arts. They strive to attract a more racially and ethnically diverse group of people, those from a broader range of economic backgrounds, new immigrants, families, and youth.The chapters in this book draw on interviews with leaders, staff, volunteers, and audience members from eighty-five nonprofit cultural organizations to explore how they are trying to increase participation and the extent to which they have been successful. The insiders' accounts point to the opportunities and challenges involved in such efforts, from the reinvention of programs and creation of new activities, to the addition of new departments and staff dynamics, to partnerships with new groups. The authors differentiate between "relational" and "transactional" practices, the former term describing efforts to build connections with local communities and the latter describing efforts to create new consumer markets for cultural products. In both cases, arts leaders report that, although positive results are difficult to measure conclusively, long-term efforts bring better outcomes than short-term activities.The organizations discussed include large, medium, and small nonprofits located in urban, suburban, and rural areasùfrom large institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the San Francisco Symphony to many cultural organizations that are smaller, but often known nationally for their innovative work, such as AS220, The Loft Literary Center, Armory Center for the Arts, Appalshop, and the Western Folklife Center.
Museums and the Challenges of Representation
Holocaust memorials and museums face a difficult task as their staffs strive to commemorate and document horror. On the one hand, the events museums represent are beyond most people’s experiences. At the same time they are often portrayed by theologians, artists, and philosophers in ways that are already known by the public. Museum administrators and curators have the challenging role of finding a creative way to present Holocaust exhibits to avoid clichéd or dehumanizing portrayals of victims and their suffering.In Holocaust Memory Reframed, Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich examines representations in three museums: Israel’s Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Germany’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She describes a variety of visually striking media, including architecture, photography exhibits, artifact displays, and video installations in order to explain the aesthetic techniques that the museums employ. As she interprets the exhibits, Hansen-Glucklich clarifies how museums communicate Holocaust narratives within the historical and cultural contexts specific to Germany, Israel, and the United States. In Yad Vashem, architect Moshe Safdie developed a narrative suited for Israel, rooted in a redemptive, Zionist story of homecoming to a place of mythic geography and renewal, in contrast to death and suffering in exile. In the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Daniel Libeskind’s architecture, broken lines, and voids emphasize absence. Here exhibits communicate a conflicted ideology, torn between the loss of a Jewish past and the country’s current multicultural ethos. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presents yet another lens, conveying through its exhibits a sense of sacrifice that is part of the civil values of American democracy, and trying to overcome geographic and temporal distance. One well-know example, the pile of thousands of shoes plundered from concentration camp victims encourages the visitor to bridge the gap between viewer and victim. Hansen-Glucklich explores how each museum’s concept of the sacred shapes the design and choreography of visitors’ experiences within museum spaces. These spaces are sites of pilgrimage that can in turn lead to rites of passage.
Art and Modernity in Postcolonial Morocco
Dans un contexte de globalisation impliquant un rétrécissement de l’espace et un aplanissement des cultures, comment la muséologie peut-elle repenser ses rapports, en particulier avec le monde professionnel ? La muséologie doit-elle être considérée comme une discipline autonome, une science appliquée ou un champ professionnel ? Quels sont les formes émergentes de médiation des savoirs et le devenir des fonctions d’éducation et de diffusion propres aux musées ? Ces questions sont abordées selon différentes approches. Les auteurs font le point sur la question de la muséologie comme discipline scientifique et tentent d’en déterminer les formes. Puis, ils s’intéressent aux missions et aux orientations de la recherche dans le champ de la muséologie, de l’éducation muséale et des médiations culturelles. Ils présentent enfin des projets de partenariat et des modes de collaboration entre acteurs sociaux, chercheurs et professionnels dans les musées.
Savoirs et savoir-faire
L’évaluation muséale célèbre en 2011 le centième anniversaire de la publication du premier article sur le sujet par Benjamin-Ives Gilman.Le présent livre s’adresse autant aux professeurs et étudiants en muséologie, en patrimoine et culture ainsi qu’en tourisme culturel, qu’aux professionnels et aux gestionnaires de musées et des autres secteurs connexes (tourisme et culture, loisirs culturels, patrimoine, etc.) intéressés par les retombées de l’évaluation.Ce guide méthodologique présente les principaux processus auxquels ont recours les évaluateurs en contexte muséal. Les cas présentés ont été sélectionnés en fonction de leur exemplarité et de leur représentativité: tous les types d’études peuvent être réutilisés ou adaptés pour des études similaires. Peu importe l’institution culturelle, l’objet d’étude ou le genre d’évaluation (formative, préalable ou sommative), des outils sont suggérés pour la mener à bien: devis d’évaluation, questionnaires fermés, schémas d’entrevues ouvertes, grilles d’observation, journal de bord, etc. Tirés de la pratique professionnelle de Lucie Daignault, ils témoignent de 23 ans d’expérience professionnelle continue en évaluation muséale au Musée de la civilisation.Fruit d’une précieuse collaboration, le premier texte a été rédigé par le professeur Bernard Schiele. Il y souligne que l’évaluation est vue comme le garant de l’accessibilité pour tous au musée car elle est la condition du maintien du dialogue entre la production culturelle du Musée et ses publics.
Cultivating Industrial Arts and Civic Identity in the Progressive Era
Faith, Activism, and Aesthetics in the Menil Collection
Renowned as one of the most significant museums built by private collectors, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, seeks to engage viewers in an acutely aesthetic, rather than pedagogical, experience of works of art. The Menil’s emphasis on being moved by art, rather than being taught art history, comes from its founders’ conviction that art offers a way to reintegrate the sacred and the secular worlds. Inspired by the French Catholic revivalism of the interwar years that recast Catholic tradition as the avant-garde, Dominique and John de Menil shared with other Catholic intellectuals a desire to reorder a world in crisis by imbuing modern cultural forms with religious faith, binding the sacred with the modern. Sacred Modern explores how the Menil Collection gives expression to the religious and political convictions of its founders and how “the Menil way” is being both perpetuated and contested as the Museum makes the transition from operating under the personal direction of Dominique de Menil to the stewardship of career professionals. Taking an ethnographic approach, Pamela G. Smart analyzes the character of the Menil aesthetic, the processes by which it is produced, and the sensibilities that it is meant to generate in those who engage with the collection. She also offers insight into the extraordinary impact Dominique and John de Menil had on the emergence of Houston as a major cultural center.