Consultations of the Muses

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Consultations of the Muses

Type: Master thesis
Title: Consultations of the Muses
Author: Provezi, Mariangela
Issue Date: 2012-07-02
Keywords: museum exhibition
ethnographic museum exhibition
modern museum
exhibition making process
source communities
meaning construction
cultural identity
Northwest Coast America Indians
Abstract: Museums today, as the International Council of Museums (ICOM) portrays, are viewed as non-profit institutions, open to the public, promoting education, research, study and entertainment. They are, like James Clifford suggests, institutions that serve as a communication point for different cultures. Additionally modern museums are considered to have a strong social character as oppose to their past nationalistic one. Taking into account all these elements, this inquiry attempts to understand the meaning that a modern Ethnographic museum tries to communicate to the public. In order to achieve that, an Ethnographic exhibition in the making is being examined. To understand the importance and sensitivity of the subject displayed, past museum exhibitions of the same culture are mentioned along with the social impact they carried. Different stages of this exhibition, as well as the decision making process are being presented. A more thorough and complete image of meaning construction in an Ethnographic museum is given by introducing other recent exhibitions displayed by the same museum. Through interviews conducted with the museum personnel, this study anatomizes meaning construction in an Ethnological museum. The negotiation of the different views and agendas of the individuals, and the communities, participating in the exhibition making process, as well as external factors influencing that procedure, are being analyzed. Concluding, this study explores on what level, meaning created in a modern Ethnological museum is educational or recreational and to what expense.
Supervisor: Dr. Françozo, Mariana
Faculty: Faculty of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Department: Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (Master)
Specialisation: Museum Anthropology
ECTS Credits: 15

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