Exhibiting Cultures: Museums, Exhibitions and Worlds' Fairs
Professor Paula Girshick
The modern museum has come a long way since its
emergence in the nineteenth century as a "cabinet
of curiosities." Instead of merely displaying
objects, museum exhibits today draw on recent
scholarship in art, literary criticism, and social
history to offer broad interpretations about the
origins, meaning and value of objects, as well as
theories about the thoughts and behavior of the
people who made them and used them....The
transformation of the museum from reliquary to
forum has forced curators to reassess their role as
cultural custodians. Increasingly, curators must
ask if museums retain the responsibility of
validating and confirming tradition, who has the
authority to interpret history to the public –
indeed, who "owns"history?
A.Henderson & A. Kaeppler (eds).
1996. Exhibiting Dilemmas, 1-2.
This course will explore the ideas, values and symbols that pervade and shape the practice of exhibiting other cultures. It will examine the ways in which museums and other sites of exhibition accord objects particular significances, the politics of exhibitions and display strategies, and the interpretive differences between art, anthropology and other types of museums and institutions which exhibit other cultures.