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Mediating Museums

Exhibiting Material Culture in Tunisia (1881-2016)


Virginie Rey

This book documents and interprets the trajectory of ethnographic museums in Tunisia from the colonial to the post-revolutionary period, demonstrating changes and continuities in role, setting and architecture across shifting ideological landscapes. The display of everyday culture in museums is generally looked down upon as being kitsch and old-fashioned. This research shows that, in Tunisia, ethnographic museums have been highly significant sites in the definition of social identities. They have worked as sites that diffuse social, economic and political tensions through a vast array of means, such as the exhibition itself, architecture, activities, tourism, and consumerism. The book excavates the evolution of paradigms in which Tunisian popular identity has been expressed through the ethnographic museum, from the modernist notion of 'indigenous authenticity' under colonial time, to efforts at developing a Tunisian ethnography after Independence, and more recent conceptions of cultural diversity since the revolution. Based on a combination of archival research in Tunisia and in France, participant observation and interviews with past and present protagonists in the Tunisian museum field, this research brings to light new material on an understudied area.

Jenny Phelan

This chapter explores a selection of programmes in museums for people with dementia, as well as how these types of sessions can trigger a nostalgic response from participants. In recent years programming for this group has become increasingly frequent worldwide, with museums hoping to demonstrate that they are socially inclusive, accessible for all and meeting the needs of their communities. A qualitative research approach allows for a holistic view of both successful and newly established museum programmes. The exploration of their context, programme structure and audience highlights larger issues involved such as social inclusion, arts and health, and the level of provision for disabled people in museums. Although these programmes depend solely on the present, without any requirement for knowledge of art history or even the use of memory, they inevitably trigger reminiscence and evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst participants. While it is clear that museums share a number of common challenges in the development and sustainability of programmes for dementia sufferers, the benefits outlined in this chapter, both for the participants and museums, should be used to encourage and motivate more institutions to cater for this group.

Art and Value – Museum Collections as Commons

A Review of Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics by Dave Beech

Nizan Shaked

and should be applied to a series of interlocking fields that include art economics, the politics of arts funding, institutional analysis, the study of collecting and museums, discussion of aesthetic judgement, and the discipline of art history. The first part of the book is an intellectual history


M.K. Flynn and Tony King

Since the end of apartheid, public history in South Africa has been undergoing reconstruction. One important goal is creation of a cross-racial and -cultural civic identity as opposed to the pre-democratic premise of opposing, legally unequal ethnic communities. However, as borne out by research at public history museums in Gauteng, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, there is little agreement as to what qualifies as an inclusive South African, rather than racially or culturally exclusive, history, and little co-ordination at the national or provincial level to encourage an over-arching philosophy of how to present South African history to the public. This is not surprising given the fractured character of South Africa’s recent past and negotiated nature of its pacted transition. But, as a result, many post-1994 changes at public history museums are ad hoc, inconsistent and discretionary, lending themselves to a sense of irrelevance or even hostile partiality to varied sectors of the South African public. While inclusive “reconciliation” is the ideal principle of the new South Africa, museums have not been able to capitalize on this sentiment if one takes into account that, at almost all sites investigated, the vast majority of visitors are either not voluntary (children on school outings) or South African (foreign tourists). Given that most sites are not primarily accessed out of choice by the South African public, the potential of public history museums, along with the narratives they present, to enhance civic cohesion and cross-racial or –cultural understanding is severely limited.

Sophie McIntyre

It is widely acknowledged that museums play an important ideological and cultural role in national identity formation by selecting, displaying, and interpreting art works that have the potential to engender a sense of national consciousness, pride, and belonging. In her seminal essay “Art Museums

Smuggling the Renaissance

The Illicit Export of Artworks Out of Italy, 1861-1909


Joanna Smalcerz

Smuggling the Renaissance: The Illicit Export of Artworks Out of Italy, 1861-1909 explores the phenomenon of art spoliation in Italy following Unification (1861), when the international demand for Italian Renaissance artworks was at an all-time high but effective art protection legislation had not yet been passed.
Making use of rich archival material Joanna Smalcerz narrates the complex and often dramatic struggle between the lawmakers of the new Italian State, and international curators (e.g., Wilhelm Bode), collectors (e.g., Isabella Stewart Gardner) and dealers (e.g., Stefano Bardini) who continuously orchestrated illicit schemes to export abroad Italian masterpieces. At the heart of the intertwinement of the art trade, art scholarship and art protection policies the author exposes the socio-psychological dynamics of unlawful collecting.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The Jewish Museum

History and Memory, Identity and Art from Vienna to the Bezalel National Museum, Jerusalem


Natalia Berger

In The Jewish Museum: History and Memory, Identity and Art from Vienna to the Bezalel National Museum, Jerusalem Natalia Berger traces the history of the Jewish museum in its various manifestations in Central Europe, notably in Vienna, Prague and Budapest, up to the establishment of the Bezalel National Museum in Jerusalem. Accordingly, the book scrutinizes collections and exhibitions and broadens our understanding of the different ways that Jewish individuals and communities sought to map their history, culture and art. It is the comparative method that sheds light on each of the museums, and on the processes that initiated the transition from collection and research to assembling a type of collection that would serve to inspire new art.

Katharina Wilkens, Christian Meyer, Anne Koch, Petra Tillessen and Annette Wilke

Journal of Religion in Europe 4 (2011) 71–101 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI 10.1163/187489210X553502 Journal of Religion in Europe Museum in Context Anne Koch Interfaculty Programme for the Study of Religion, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, D

Mohr, Hubert

[German Version] I. The Institution: Definition and Function – II. History – III. Religion in the Museum: A Typological Survey – IV. Religions in the Museum: Forms of Reception and Areas of Conflict Museums are complex institutions of Europe's modern secular civil society, especially, since the 18