The Contemporary Museum: Shaping Museums for the Global Now

1st Edition

Simon Knell

Routledge
Published August 29, 2018
Textbook - 238 Pages
ISBN 9780815364931 - CAT# K348252

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USD$39.95

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Summary

The Contemporary Museum issues a challenge to those who view the museum as an artefact of history, constrained in its outlook as much by professional, institutional and disciplinary creed, as by the collections it accumulated in the distant past. Denying that the museum can locate its purpose in the pursuit of tradition or in idealistic speculation about the future, the book asserts that this can only be found through an ongoing and proactive negotiation with the present: the contemporary.

This volume is not concerned with any present, but with the peculiar circumstances of what it refers to as the ‘global contemporary’ – the sense of living in a globally connected world that is preoccupied with the contemporary. To situate the museum in this world of real and immediate need and action, beyond the reach of history, the book argues, is to empower it to challenge existing dogmas and inequalities and sweep aside old hierarchies. As a result, fundamental questions need to be asked about such things as the museum’s relationship to global time and space, to systems and technologies of knowing, to ‘the life well lived’, to the movement and rights of people, and to the psychology, permanence and organisation of culture.

Incorporating diverse viewpoints from around the world, The Contemporary Museum is a follow-up volume to Museum Revolutions and, as such, should be essential reading for students in the fields of museum and heritage studies, cultural studies, communication and media studies, art history and social policy. Academics and museum professionals will also find this book a source of inspiration.

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