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    Independent museums, heritage, and the shape of museum studies

    Candlin, Fiona (2012) Independent museums, heritage, and the shape of museum studies. Museum and Society 10 (1), pp. 28-41. ISSN 1479-8360.

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    Reflecting on the British heritage debates of the 1980s and 1990s, Robert Lumley asserted that they continue to influence Anglo-American definitions and perceptions of that subject. This article suggests that they had a correlative impact upon the parameters of museum studies. The museums founded during the 1980s were mainly small scale enterprises and they were devoted to many different topics, but commentators almost exclusively focused on the large independent organisations concerned with the recent industrial past. In doing so they associated the independent sector with ‘heritage’ rather than with established public museums. I maintain that this remains the case. Recent scholarship either considers independent museums in relation to the conceptual framework of the period or in terms of ‘community’, a discourse that is closely linked to recent developments in heritage studies. They are rarely, if ever, mentioned in analyses of architecture, professional practice, contemporary display or the role of museums. This omission effectively ascribes expertise and knowledge to public rather than independent institutions, maintains ingrained structures of social and cultural exclusion, and homogenises museum studies, limiting its concerns and scope.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Open Access journal
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Heritage, museum studies, community, independent
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Knowledge Lab
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 15:50
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:02


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