967 - the museum as forum, 19th-20th century

16.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30
17.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30

Convener 1: Penaloza Patzak, Brooke (Bard Graduate Center/Universität Wien , Vienna, Austria / Österreich)

The proposed symposium focuses on the dialogues that have shaped museum work from the rise of the modern museum in the last third of the 19 th century. From the 1970s on, museums have been studied as disciplinary institutions and as vehicles for dominant discourse. Some museum practitioners have therefore considered that the museum should be a forum rather than a temple, producing negotiated exhibits, or exhibits mirroring and prompting public debates. Such prescriptive considerations on museums have downplayed the fact that museums were a forum even before the 1970s, however small the circle of the "we" was. This symposium therefore aims at exploring to what extent museum curators and administrators worked collectively and interacted with the public, with donors and the politically powerful, as well as with academia. We welcome papers on the various forms of dialogue taking place within museums and on the degree of publicity the latter got throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. This includes dialogue on the scientific disciplines that were shaped by museum practice, political debates from the last third of the 19th century to the "culture wars" of the 1990s, as well as debates on the nature of museums that took place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Keywords: Museums, public debate, epistemology of sciences

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