Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Curation as Public Scholarship

Museum Archaeology in a Seventeenth-Century Shipwreck Exhibit

Sarah A. Buchanan

Keywords: archaeological curation; historical museums; interactive exhibition, museum education; multiple narratives; participatory museum

Museum archaeology offers opportunities to practice artifact storytelling, engaging visitors on the strength of objects that have been conserved and curated. Public appreciation of science and history is bolstered when museums exhibit objects of singular historic significance in a manner that allows visitors to build an experiential understanding of the objects’ provenance. Archaeologists and conservators began reassembling the 330-year-old French ship La Belle as a live-action exhibition on 25 October 2014 in the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The collaboration broke new ground by inviting visitors, in person and via streaming online video, to watch the experts rebuild the ship in full public view. Until, and aft er, the reconstructed ship hull was moved into its permanent first-floor gallery location on 21 May 2015, the exhibition brought archaeologists and international museum visitors into the same room to learn. The article interprets these events toward reimagining museum object curation as public scholarship.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.