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Exhibition Reviews

Jeanette Atkinson, Tracy Buck, Simon Jean, Alan Wallach, Peter Davis, Ewa Klekot, Philipp Schorch, Wing Yan Vivian Ting, Caroline Turner, Glen St John Barclay, Jennifer Wagelie, and Graeme Were

Steampunk (Bradford Industrial Museum, UK)

Framing India: Paris-Delhi-Bombay . . . (Centre Pompidou, Paris)

E Tū Ake: Māori Standing Strong/Māori: leurs trésors ont une âme (Te Papa, Wellington, and Musée du quai Branly, Paris)

The New American Art Galleries, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Scott's Last Expedition (Natural History Museum, London)

Left-Wing Art, Right-Wing Art, Pure Art: New National Art (Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw)

Focus on Strangers: Photo Albums of World War II (Stadtmuseum, Jena)

A Museum That Is Not: A Fanatical Narrative of What a Museum Can Be (Guandong Times Museum, Guandong)

21st Century: Art in the First Decade (QAGOMA, Brisbane)

James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn)

Land, Sea and Sky: Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands (QAGOMA, Brisbane) and Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait (Queensland Museum, Brisbane)

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Exhibitions as Research

Displaying the Technologies That Make Bodies Visible

Anita Herle

Drawing on a recent exhibition, Assembling Bodies: Art, Science and Imagination, at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), this article argues that curatorial techniques, involving a sustained engagement with objects, can play a vital role in anthropological research. Processes involved in the creation and reception of the exhibition facilitated the investigation of how bodies are composed, known, and acted upon in different times, places, and disciplinary contexts. Assembling Bodies attempted to transcend the dualism of subject and object, people and things, by demonstrating how different technologies for making bodies visible bring new and oft en unexpected forms into focus. Processes of exploration and experimentation continued after the exhibition opened in the discussions and activities that the displays stimulated, and in the reflections and ideas that visitors took away.

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Heritage

Renovation, Relocation, Remediation, and Repositioning Museums

Mary Bouquet

This article examines the changing relationship between museums and heritage using a number of Dutch cases. It argues that if heritage was once defined as being museological in character, this order of precedence is under revision as museums themselves are recursively transformed by heritage dynamics. Such dynamics include the display of renovation work-in-progress; the enhancement of historical collections by relocation to prominent new sites and buildings; the transformation of old industrial sites into new art and public spaces; and a mutual reinforcement between the urban landscape setting and the institutions that compose it by virtual means. Postcolonial heritage practices worldwide enfold museums in a further set of transformatory dynamics: these include claims on cultural property that was removed in colonial times, but also the strategic transformation of cultural property into heritage for didactic purposes. Museums are subject to the recursive dynamics of heritage, which are turning them inside out.

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International Seminar on Museums and the Changing Cultural Landscape, Ladakh

Conference and Project Report

Manvi Seth

The international seminar on Museums and the Changing Cultural Landscape, coordinated by Dr. Manvi Seth, was organized by the department of museology in the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology in collaboration with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) from 2–4 September 2012 at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), Leh, Ladakh, India.

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Museums in a Global World

A Conversation on Museums, Heritage, Nation, and Diversity in a Transnational Age

Conal McCarthy, Jennifer Walklate, Rhiannon Mason, Christopher Whitehead, Jakob Ingemann Parby, André Cicalo, Philipp Schorch, Leslie Witz, Pablo Alonso Gonzalez, Naomi Roux, Eva Ambos, and Ciraj Rassool

The following conversation took place during the Critical Heritage Studies conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 6 June 2012. The initial idea and topic was suggested by Kylie Message, the session was chaired by Conal McCarthy, and the recording was transcribed by Jennifer Walklate and edited by Conal McCarthy and Jennifer Walklate.

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National Museums, Globalization, and Postnationalism

Imagining a Cosmopolitan Museology

Rhiannon Mason

In recent years it has been asked whether it is time to move ‘beyond the national museum’. This article takes issue with this assertion on the grounds that it misunderstands not only museums as cultural phenomenon but also the ways in which globalization, nationalism, and localism are always enmeshed and co-constitutive. The article begins by considering theories of globalization, postnationalism, and cosmopolitanism and their relevance for national museums in the European context. Specific theories of cosmopolitanism are subsequently further explored in relation to two museum examples drawn from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin. In different ways both examples demonstrate the potential for museums to engage visitors with ideas of cosmopolitanism, globalization, and postnationalism by revisiting, reframing, and reinterpreting existing national collections and displays. In the process the article makes the case for the merits of a nationally situated approach to cosmopolitanism in European museums. At the same time it acknowledges some of the potential limits to such endeavors. The article concludes by imagining what a ‘cosmopolitan museology’ would offer in terms of practice, politics, and ethics.

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Piazzas or Stadiums

Toward an Alternative Account of Museums in Cultural and Urban Development

Lisanne Gibson

Over the last twenty-five years or so there has been a ‘cultural turn’ in urban development strategies. An analysis of the academic literature over this period reveals that the role of new museums in such developments has oft en been viewed reductively as brands of cultural distinction with economic pump priming objectives. Over the same twenty-five year period there has also been what is termed here a ‘libertarian turn’ in museum studies and museology. Counterposing discussions of the museum’s role within urban development with discussions from within the museum studies literature on the ‘post-museum’ reveals the dichotomous nature of these approaches to the museum. This article proposes instead a consideration of the phenomenotechnics of new museum developments. This approach presents a way of taking account of both technical and symbolic conditions and characteristics and in doing so, it is hoped, provides a way of analyzing the ‘realpolitik’ of the role of museums in urban development.