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The reflexive museum : opening the door to behind the scenes

Schorch, Philipp 2009, The reflexive museum : opening the door to behind the scenes, Journal of museums aotearoa, vol. 33, no. 1 & 2, pp. 28-31.

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Title The reflexive museum : opening the door to behind the scenes
Author(s) Schorch, Philipp
Journal name Journal of museums aotearoa
Volume number 33
Issue number 1 & 2
Start page 28
End page 31
Total pages 4
Publisher Museums Aotearoa
Place of publication Wellington, New Zealand
Publication date 2009
ISSN 1178-7627
Keyword(s) museums
public sphere
reflexive modernity
Summary In this paper I argue for a shift in conceptualising exhibitions: from products to be presented to processes to be revealed. I will explore how museum theory and practice are inextricably intertwined and can be brought into fruitful dialogue within an exhibition setting. By revealing the processes leading to the definition of categories and the interpretation of identities, and by giving ‘faces’ to decisions made, the ‘reflexive museum’ can become an embodiment of democracy, which does not silence controversies but gives diversity public voices. The ‘reflexive museum’ as I envisage it, by referring to Beck and Bonss’ ‘reflexive modernity’ (2001) is not only self-aware, but confronts, critiques, questions and ultimately transforms itself and invites the visitor to democratically participate in this process.

First, I sketch out recent academic musings on museological approaches. Then I present some examples of exhibitions in Germany in which these theories have been put into practice. I conclude by arguing for a symbiotic relationship between museum theory and practice, enabling the museum to realise its unique potential as a dynamic ‘playground’ located between scholarly thinking and the public.
Notes This paper was also presented at Museums Aotearoa Annual Conference (2009 : Gisborne, New Zealand) on 15-17 April 2009.
Language eng
Field of Research 210204 Museum Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
HERDC Research category CN.1 Other journal article
Copyright notice ©2009, Museums Aotearoa
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Alfred Deakin Research Institute
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Created: Thu, 06 Sep 2012, 14:05:33 EST by Philipp Schorch

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