Representation, collaboration and history wars at the National Museum of Australia

Allen, Bernadette (2004). Representation, collaboration and history wars at the National Museum of Australia Honours Thesis, School of Social Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Allen, Bernadette
Thesis Title Representation, collaboration and history wars at the National Museum of Australia
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004-10-29
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Jon Prangnell
Leonn Satterthwait
Total pages 71
Language eng
Subjects 210204 Museum Studies
Formatted abstract

Recent attention to the representation of previously marginalised groups in museums, especially in institutions concerned with more recent history, has become something of a preoccupation in the profession. This preoccupation has brought with it previously unrealised opportunities, challenges and problems. The representation of cultural diversity and identity in its various manifestations poses curatorial questions that take considerable time and effort to address, and draws scrutiny and often criticism from a number of quarters. A pattern seems to be developing that many museums, for whatever reason, cannot invest the time and effort required to deal with these emerging questions, or do not wish to attract the scrutiny and likely criticism that will follow their efforts to do so. As a result, issues of representation arise and persist.

The content of this thesis is concerned with such issues of representation. Issues of representation involve many stakeholders. Museum curators, source communities and the general public all have roles to play and exist within a broader political environment. These aspects of museum representation are discussed. The latest academic and methodological thinking are explored, and comment is made on possible future directions this topic may take, which is in the form of well documented collaborative exhibitions, in an attempt to successfully avoid or resolve issues of representation.

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra is used as a case study, as recent activity and controversy surrounding this institution provide the perfect illustration of the literature reviewed in this thesis. The governing forces of the Museum, operating under a political cloud, were hesitant to pursue the challenges that played out, so that the manoeuvres made to calm the controversy resulted in the issues of representation remaining largely unresolved.

Keyword Museums &​ Museology
Museums -- Philosophy
Museum exhibits -- Political aspects
Museums -- Management

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Created: Wed, 09 Dec 2015, 23:29:05 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service