Museums, Media and Cultural Theory
Museums can work to reproduce ideologies and confirm the existing order of things, or as instruments of social reform. Yet objects in museums can exceed their designated roles as documents or specimens. In this wideranging and original book, Michelle Henning explores how historical and contemporary museums and exhibitions restage the relationship between people and material things. In doing so, they become important sites for the development of new forms of experience, memory and knowledge. Henning reveals how museums can be theorised as a form of media. She discusses both historical and contemporary examples, from cabinets of curiosity, through the avant-garde exhibition design of Lissitzy and Bayer; the experimental museums of Paul Otlet and Otto Neurath; to science centres; immersive and virtual museums; and major developments such as Guggenheim Bilbao, Tate Modern in London and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. Museums, Media and Cultural Theory is unique in its treatment of the museum as a media-form, and in its detailed and critical discussion of a wide range of display techniques. It is an indispensable introduction to some of the key ideas, texts and histories relevant to the museum in the 21st century.