Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum by Sharon Macdonald

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, rather makes them? Why are sure items and kinds of reveal selected when others are rejected, and what elements impression how museum exhibitions are produced and skilled? This publication solutions those looking questions by way of giving a privileged glance ‘behind the scenes’ on the technology Museum in London. by means of monitoring the background of a specific exhibition, Macdonald takes the reader into the realm of the museum curator and indicates in brilliant aspect how exhibitions are created and the way public tradition is produced. She finds why exhibitions don't continually replicate their makers’ unique intentions and why viewers take domestic specific interpretations. past this ‘local’ context, despite the fact that, the ebook additionally presents wide and far-reaching insights into how nationwide and international political shifts impact the production of public wisdom via exhibitions

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So, again, rather than try to make an either or selection I have tried to work with this tension and to produce a narrative account, with a sense of direction which results from following a process, but which also tries not to lose the sense of what was in many respects a messy business. Admission: Going In 17 Museum staff, during the time that I worked with them, were being urged, in increasingly forceful terms, to consider and define their ‘target audience’. In writing this book it occurred to me that I should do the same and I struggled to try to decide which, of those various possible audiences jostling in my head (Museum staff, anthropologists, academics, people working in museums more generally, myself.

4 million visitors were recorded at the Science Museum, a figure superseded only by the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. 35 After the introduction of charges at the Science Museum, however, the visitor figure for the NMSI – which the Science Museum delayed in producing – was down by 60 per cent. Despite the bullish statements in the press that this was only to be expected shortly after introducing charges and that figures would soon return to their previous levels, there was undoubtedly concern among the museum management.

These were to be presented to government as part of museums’ bids for funding (which was no longer to be assumed) and were to be revised each year. There were also significant changes in the management of national museums. 31 Previously, most nationals had been managed within government departments: the Science Museum had been part of the Office of Arts and Libraries. Trustees are persons drawn from those in Britain known as ‘the great and the good’ – individuals who collectively would bring to bear expertise deemed relevant to the running of a museum.

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