Collecting is a key function of museums. Its apparent simplicity belies a complexity of questions and issues which make all collecting imprecise and unrepresentative. This book exposes the many meanings of collections, the different perspectives taken by different cultures, and the institutional response to the collecting problem. One major concern is omission, whether this be determined by politics, professional ethics, the law or social agenda. How did curators collect during the war in Croatia? What were the problems of trying to collect the ’old’ South Africa when the new one was born? Can museums collect from groups which seem to ’deviate’ from society’s norms? How has the function of museums affected the practices of international trade? Can museums collect successfully if collecting agenda are being set externally? Museums and the Future of Collecting encourages museums to move away from the collecting of isolated tokens; to move beyond the collecting policy and to understand more clearly the intellectual function of what they do. Here examples are given from Australia, Sweden, Canada, Spain, Britain and Croatia which provide this intellectual understanding and many practical tools for evaluating a future collecting strategy.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Altered values: searching for a new collecting, Simon Knell; Collections and collecting, Susan Pearce; Museums without collections: museum philosophy in West Africa, Malcolm McLeod; The future of collecting: lessons from the past, Richard Dunn; The Ashmolean Museum: a case study of 18th century collecting, Patricia Kell; The cartographies of collecting, Rebecca Duclos; From curio to cultural document, Barbara Lawson; Contemporary popular collecting, Paul Martin; Collecting from the era of memory, myth and delusion, Gaynor Kavanagh; Collecting in time of war, Zarka Vujic; The politics of museum collecting in the ’old’ and the ’new’ South Africa, Graham Dominy; Folk devils in our midst? Collecting from ’deviant’ groups, Nicola Clayton; All legal and ethical? Museums and the international market in fossils, John Martin; What is in a ’national’ museum? The challenges of collecting policies at the National Museums of Scotland, Michael Taylor; Who is steering the ship? Museums and archaeological fieldwork, Janet Owen; Collecting: reclaiming the art, systematising the technique, Linda Young; Samdok: tools to make the world visible, Anna Steen; Professionalising collecting, Barbro Bursell; Developing a collecting strategy for smaller museums, MarÃa GarcÃa, Carmen Chinea and José FariÃ±a; Towards a national collection strategy: reviewing existing holdings, Jean-Marc Gagnon and Gerald Fitzgerald; Ranking collections, Martin Wickham; Deaccessioning as a collections management tool, Patricia Ainslie; Collecting live performance, James Fowler; Redefining collecting, Tomislav Sola; Index.
’...there is much that can be taken from this book and applied to the daily practice and philosophy of the whole range of museums...' Museum National '... the second edition of this book [...] is welcome and timely... this book should help bring collecting activity back up the museum agenda.' Museums Journal 'Museums and the Future of Collecting is produced in paperback at an affordable price; this should enable this volume of essays to feature on every curator's bookshelf, where it deserves to be.' Journal of the Society of Archivists