Collections as artefacts: The making and thinking of anthropological museum collections

Satterthwait, Leonn (2008). Collections as artefacts: The making and thinking of anthropological museum collections. In Nicolas Peterson, Lindy Allen and Louise Hamby (Ed.), The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections Part I (pp. 29-60) Carlton, Melbourne, VIC, Ausralia: Melbourne University Publishing.

Author Satterthwait, Leonn
Title of chapter Collections as artefacts: The making and thinking of anthropological museum collections
Title of book The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collections Part I
Place of Publication Carlton, Melbourne, VIC, Ausralia
Publisher Melbourne University Publishing
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Other
ISBN 0522855687
9780522855685
Editor Nicolas Peterson
Lindy Allen
Louise Hamby
Chapter number 1
Start page 29
End page 60
Total pages 32
Total chapters 20
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
1601 Anthropology
160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Abstract/Summary Collections are artefacts—constructions that come into being when objects are physically or conceptually brought together. As artefacts, collections have properties,among the most obvious of which are the kinds of things they contain and their proportions. Rarely, however, do these properties reflect in a representative way what it would have been possible to collect. A collection consequently both reflects the situation from which it was derived, andpresents a distorted image of that situation. The latter, however, can be highly informative, if only we can determine its character. Since most collections represent samples from unknown universes, this is no easy feat—it requires that we give a presence to the non-present so that what was collected can be compared to what could have been collected to establish the nature of the biases in a collection. Although often difficult, there are nevertheless several ways in which this can be attempted, including through linguistic comparisons. Such an exercise provides the basis for reflecting on a number of matters, theoretical and practical, relating to collections and their creation. These include the very notion of a ‘collection’, differences in kinds of collections, the processes by which an assemblage of items becomes a ‘collection’, and collections as mental constructs, as mentally conceived categories made manifest.
Keyword Ethnological museums and collections - Australia
Museums - Social aspects - Australia
Social Science
Anthropology
Collections in institutions
Q-Index Code BX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes The Makers and Making of Indigenous Australian Museum Collection is available as both an e-book (downloadable PDF files) or a d-book (print-on-demand).The 20 chapters are arranged under four broad headings: 'Collecting in its institutional context'; 'Collecting under the influence of evolutionism'; 'Before it is too late' and 'Transformed collecting'. In this way, the editors attempt to historicise and contextualise collecting and the motives of collectors

 
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Created: Tue, 23 Feb 2010, 12:00:19 EST by Rosalind Blair on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences