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Legacies

Author: Steven Lubar
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
ISBN: 1935623486
Size: 52.24 MB
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The Smithsonian Institution has been America's museum since 1846. What do its vast collections -- from the ruby slippers to a piece of Plymouth Rock, first ladies' gowns to patchwork quilts, a Model T Ford to a customized Ford LTD low rider -- tell Americans about themselves? In this lavishly illustrated guide to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick tell the stories behind more than 250 of the museum's treasures, many of them never before photographed for publication. These stories not only reveal what America as a nation has decided to save and why but also speak to changing visions of national identity. As the authors demonstrate, views of history change over time, methods of historical investigation evolve and improve, and America's understanding of the past matures. Shifts in focus and attitude lie at the hearth of Legacies, which is organized around four concepts of what a national museum of history can be: a treasure house, a shrine to the famous, a palace of progress, and a mirror of the nation. Thus, the museum collects cherished or precious objects, houses celebrity memorabilia, documents technological advances, and reflects visitors' own lives. Taking examples from science and technology, politics, decorative arts, military history, ethnic heritage, popular culture and everyday life, the authors provide historical context for the work of the Smithsonian and shed new light on what is important, and who is included, in American history. Throughout its history, Lubar and Kendrick conclude, the museum has played a vital role in both shaping and reflecting America's sense of itself as a nation. From the Hardcover edition.

Collecting And Exhibiting Computer Based Technology

Author: Petrina Foti
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351174320
Size: 54.90 MB
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Computer technology has transformed modern society, yet curators wishing to reflect those changes face difficult challenges in terms of both collecting and exhibiting. Collecting and Exhibiting Computer-Based Technology examines how curators at the history and technology museums of the Smithsonian Institution have met these challenges. Focusing on the curatorial process, the book explores the ways in which curators at the institution have approached the accession and display of technological artifacts. Such collections often have comparatively few precedents, and can pose unique dilemmas. In analysing the Smithsonian’s approach, Foti takes in diverse collection case studies ranging from DNA analyzers to Herbie Hancock’s music synthesizers, from iPods to born-digital photographs, from the laptop used during the filming of the television program Sex and the City to "Stanley" the self-driving car. Using her proposed model of "expert curation", she synthesizes her findings into a more universal framework for undertanding the curatorial methods associated with computer technology and reflects on what it means to be a curator in a postdigital world. Collecting and Exhibiting Computer-Based Technology offers a detailed analysis of curatorial practice in a relatively new field that is set to grow exponentially. It will be useful reading for curators, scholars, and students alike.

The First Smithsonian Collection

Author: Helena E. Wright
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
ISBN: 193562363X
Size: 62.81 MB
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In 1849 the Smithsonian purchased the Marsh Collection of European engravings. Not only the first collection of any kind to be acquired by the new Institution, it was also the first public print collection in the nation, and it presented an important symbol of cultural authority. The prints formed part of the library of Vermont Congressman George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882), a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. The uncertainty of the Smithsonian's mission in the early years complicated its motivation for purchasing the collection, especially given Marsh’s position as a Regent in financial difficulty. After a serious fire in 1865, portions of the collection were deposited at the Library of Congress and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Efforts to reclaim it began in the 1880s, as a new generation of Smithsonian staff expanded the National Museum, but they achieved only mixed success. Through the story of the Marsh Collection, the book explores the cultural values attributed to prints in the 19th century, including their prominent role in expositions and their influence on visual culture at a time when collecting styles were moving from an individual’s private contemplation of artworks to wider public venues of exposition in museums and reception by multiple audiences. The history of this first Smithsonian collection enlivens an important stage in the development of American cultural identity and in the formation of the Smithsonian as a national institution.

Encyclopedia Of American Folklore

Author: Linda S. Watts
Publisher: Infobase Publishing
ISBN: 1438129793
Size: 54.92 MB
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Presents an A-to-Z reference to American folklore with articles on folk heroes, authors, significant historical events, cultural groups, social aspects and more.

Museums And Social Activism

Author: Kylie Message
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134663692
Size: 39.39 MB
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Museums and Social Activism is the first study to bring together historical accounts of the African American and later American Indian civil rights-related social and reform movements that took place on the Smithsonian Mall through the 1960s and 1970s in Washington DC with the significant but unknown story about museological transformation and curatorial activism that occurred in the Division of Political and Reform History at the National Museum of American History at this time. Based on interdisciplinary field-based research that has brought together cross-cultural and international perspectives from the fields of Museum Studies, Public History, Political Science and Social Movement Studies with empirical investigation, the book explores and analyses museums’ – specifically, curators’ – relationships with political stakeholders past and present. By understanding the transformations of an earlier period, Museums and Social Activism offers provocative perspectives on the cultural and political significance of contemporary museums. It highlights the relevance of past practice and events for museums today and improved ways of understanding the challenges and opportunities that result from the ongoing process of renewal that museums continue to exemplify.

The Invention Of The American Art Museum

Author: Kathleen Curran
Publisher: Getty Publications
ISBN: 1606064789
Size: 80.29 MB
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American art museums share a mission and format that differ from those of their European counterparts, which often have origins in aristocratic collections. This groundbreaking work recounts the fascinating story of the invention of the modern American art museum, starting with its roots in the 1870s in the craft museum type, which was based on London’s South Kensington (now the Victoria and Albert) Museum. At the turn of the twentieth century, American planners grew enthusiastic about a new type of museum and presentation that was developed in Northern Europe, particularly in Germany, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. Called Kulturgeschichte (cultural history) museums, they were evocative displays of regional history. American trustees, museum directors, and curators found that the Kulturgeschichte approach offered a variety of transformational options in planning museums, classifying and displaying objects, and broadening collecting categories, including American art and the decorative arts. Leading institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, adopted and developed crucial aspects of the Kulturgeschichte model. By the 1930s, such museum plans and exhibition techniques had become standard practice at museums across the country.

Shivers Down Your Spine

Author: Alison Griffiths
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231503466
Size: 56.80 MB
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From the architectural spectacle of the medieval cathedral and the romantic sublime of the nineteenth-century panorama to the techno-fetishism of today's London Science Museum, humans have gained a deeper understanding of the natural world through highly illusionistic representations that engender new modes of seeing, listening, and thinking. What unites and defines many of these wondrous spaces is an immersive view-an invitation to step inside the virtual world of the image and become a part of its universe, if only for a short time. Since their inception, museums of science and natural history have mixed education and entertainment, often to incredible, eye-opening effect. Immersive spaces of visual display and modes of exhibition send "shivers" down our spines, engaging the distinct cognitive and embodied mapping skills we bring to spectacular architecture and illusionistic media. They also force us to reconsider traditional models of film spectatorship in the context of a mobile and interactive spectator. Through a series of detailed historical case studies, Alison Griffiths masterfully explores the uncanny and unforgettable visceral power of the medieval cathedral, the panorama, the planetarium, the IMAX theater, and the science museum. Examining these structures as exemplary spaces of immersion and interactivity, Griffiths reveals the sometimes surprising antecedents of modern media forms, suggesting the spectator's deep-seated desire to become immersed in a virtual world. Shivers Down Your Spine demonstrates how immersive and interactive museum display techniques such as large video displays, reconstructed environments, and touch-screen computer interactives have redefined the museum space, fueling the opposition between public and private, science and spectacle, civic and corporate interests, voice and text, and life and death. In her remarkable study of sensual spaces, Griffiths explains why, for centuries, we keep coming back for more.