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Open to interpretation : mobilizing historical thinking in the museum Gosselin, Viviane 2011

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OPEN TO INTERPRETATION: MOBILIZING HISTORICAL THINKING IN THE MUSEUM by VIVIANE GOSSELIN  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Curriculum Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  December 2011 © Viviane Gosselin, 2011  Abstract
 This
study
adopts
an
historical
thinking
pedagogy
to
examine
how
museums
“make
 history”.
An
historical
thinking
pedagogy
supports
learners
in
shaping
their
own
ideas
about
the
 past
by
simultaneously
engaging
them
with
substantive
history
(the
facts,
dates,
events
of
 history)
and
procedural
history
(the
processes
that
go
into
constructing
histories).
I
 hypothesized
that
a
greater
understanding
of
visitors’
and
exhibition
makers’
historical
thinking
 could
help
museum
practitioners
create
new
forms
of
public
engagement
with
the
past
that
 resonate
more
significantly
with
contemporary
audiences.
 
  The
research
design
evaluated
the
usefulness
of
two
frameworks
related
to
historical
  meaning‐making
of
exhibition
makers
and
visitors.
These
frameworks
were
initially
designed
to
 examine
the
work
of
historians
(in
the
case
of
Jörn
Rüsen’s
disciplinary
matrix)
and
students
(in
 the
case
of
Peter
Seixas’
historical
thinking
concepts).
The
investigation,
informed
by
a
 phenomenographic
methodology,
consisted
of
a
qualitative
case
study,
which
focused
on
a
 single
exhibition,
its
makers
(n=6)
and
its
visitors
(n=36).
The
selected
exhibition,
Being
Irish
 O’Quebec,
was
presented
at
the
McCord
Museum
of
Canadian
History
in
Montreal
in
2009–10.
 The
exhibition
proposed
a
complex
notion
of
Quebecois
identity
by
demonstrating
the
ubiquity
 of
Irish
culture
in
Quebec’s
cultural
and
genetic
makeup.

 
  The
analysis
demonstrated
how
both
frameworks
could
help
conceptualize
the
  experience
of
exhibition
makers
and
museum
visitors,
and
describe
their
agency
as
historical
 interpreters.
Historical
thinking
concepts
were
instrumental
in
pursuing
their
distinctive
 interpretive
tasks.
The
frameworks
provided
two
robust
sets
of
interconnected
questions
that
 could
promote
reflexive
practice
among
museum
practitioners
and
inspire
new
museographic
 approaches.
Having
demonstrated
the
visitors’
interest
in
the
processes
of
doing
history,
I
 propose
the
creation
of
porous
narratives,
exhibition
environments
where
design
and
textual
 elements
expose
the
construction
of
the
historical
narrative
and
explicitly
invite
visitors
to
take
 a
more
active
role
as
interpreters.
Such
a
strategy
would
firmly
position
the
educational
 function
of
museums
as
promoters
of
historical
consciousness,
while
contributing
toward
more
 democratic
and
reciprocal
relationships
between
museums
and
their
publics.

  ii
  Preface

 
 The following statement is a requirement of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at The University of British Columbia (UBC) for research that required the approval of a UBC Research Ethics Board. Ethics approval for this research was provided by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board, certificate number: H08-03121.  iii
  
  Table
of
Contents
 Abstract
….......................................................................................................................................ii
 Preface
…….....................................................................................................................................iii
 Table
of
Contents .......................................................................................................................... iv
 List
of
Tables................................................................................................................................ viii
 List
of
Figures ................................................................................................................................ ix
 Acknowledgements........................................................................................................................ x
 Chapter
1
Introduction...................................................................................................................1
 1.1
Setting
the
Stage ..................................................................................................................1
 1.2
Research
Questions..............................................................................................................2
 1.3
Significance
of
the
Study ......................................................................................................3
 1.4
Conclusion
and
Structure
of
the
Dissertation ......................................................................6
 Chapter
2
 Making
Sense
of
the
World
in
the
Museum ...............................................................8
 2.1
Museum
Education:
From
Teaching
to
Mediating
and
Co‐producing
Knowledge...............8
 2.2
The
Exhibition
Effects .........................................................................................................13
 2.2.1
Considering
the
visitor
as
passive
recipient
of
knowledge..........................................14
 2.2.2
Considering
the
visitor
as
active
learner .....................................................................16
 2.2.3
Considering
the
individuality
and
social
agency
of
the
visitor:
the
median
position ..17
 2.3
Conclusion ..........................................................................................................................27
 Chapter
3
 On
Historical
Thinking...............................................................................................30
 3.1
History,
A
Brief
Definition...................................................................................................30
 3.2
Historical
Thinking
Pedagogy .............................................................................................31
 3.3
The
Historical
Thinking
Concepts .......................................................................................33
 3.3.1
Evidence
and
epistemology.........................................................................................34
 3.3.2
Historical
significance ..................................................................................................36
 3.3.3
Cause
and
consequence ..............................................................................................37
 3.3.4
Historical
perspective ..................................................................................................37
 iv
  
 3.3.5
Continuity
and
change.................................................................................................38
 3.3.6
Ethical
judgment..........................................................................................................38
 3.4
Conclusion:
Meshing
Two
Parallel
Discussions ..................................................................39
 Chapter
4
 Methodology ............................................................................................................43
 4.1
Case
Study
Research...........................................................................................................43
 4.1.1
Defining
case
study
research.......................................................................................43
 4.1.2
Defining
phenomenography........................................................................................44
 4.1
Introducing
the
Case:
Being
Irish
O’Quebec .......................................................................45
 4.2
Data
Sources
and
Collection...............................................................................................47
 4.2.1
The
exhibition
environment ........................................................................................48
 4.2.2
The
experience
of
people
who
made
the
exhibition...................................................48
 4.2.3
The
experience
of
people
who
visited
the
exhibition .................................................48
 4.3
Research
Ethics...................................................................................................................54
 4.3.1
Respect
for
study
participants.....................................................................................54
 4.3.2
Participants’
privacy ....................................................................................................55
 4.4
Trustworthiness
of
Data .....................................................................................................56
 4.4.1
Credibility ....................................................................................................................56
 4.4.2
Authenticity.................................................................................................................57
 4.4.3
Comprehensiveness ....................................................................................................57
 4.5
Researcher’s
Position .........................................................................................................58
 4.6
Data
Analysis ......................................................................................................................59
 4.6.1
The
structural
and
heuristic
role
of
Rüsen’s
matrix
in
the
analysis.............................59
 4.6.2
Qualifying
the
historical
thinking
of
the
exhibition
makers ........................................61
 4.6.3
Qualifying
the
historical
thinking
of
the
museum
visitors...........................................64
 4.7
Conclusion ..........................................................................................................................67
 Chapter
5
 Being
Irish
O’Quebec,
the
Case.................................................................................68
 5.1
Being
Irish
O’Quebec
in
the
Context
of
the
Institutional
Vision .........................................68
 5.2
The
Exhibition
–
Descriptions .............................................................................................70
 v
  
 5.2.1
The
exhibition
topic.....................................................................................................70
 5.2.2
Formal
description
(See
Figure
5.1
to
Figure
5.19) .....................................................70
 5.3
The
Interviews
with
Team
Members
as
Core
Data
for
the
Analysis
of
BIQ’s
Production...94
 5.4
Processes
of
Exhibition
Development
as
They
Relate
to
BIQ .............................................96
 5.5
Conclusion ..........................................................................................................................97
 Chapter
6
 The
Historical
Exploration
of
Exhibition
Makers ......................................................98
 6.1
The
Interest
Element
and
the
Elaboration
of
BIQ ..............................................................98
 6.1.1
A
community
need ......................................................................................................99
 6.1.2
The
institutional
responsibility
to
discuss
“integration
stories”................................100
 6.2
The
Theory
Element:
The
Team’s
Epistemological
Understanding
of
History .................103
 6.3
The
Method
Element:
The
Rules
of
Empirical
Research...................................................106
 6.4
The
Form
of
Representation
Element:
The
Conceptual
and
Physical
Building
of
BIQ......107
 6.4.1
Conceptual
knots:
key
negotiations
among
team
members
and
stakeholders ........108
 6.4.2
Exhibition
design
and
historical
meaning‐making.....................................................115
 6.5
The
Function
Element:
How
BIQ
Oriented
the
Public ......................................................120
 6.6
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................122
 Chapter
7
 The
Historical
Exploration
of
Exhibition
Visitors.....................................................124
 7.1
The
Interest
Element:
The
Visitors’
Need
for
Temporal
Orientation ...............................124
 7.2
The
Theory
Element:
The
Visitors’
Understanding
of
Historical
Epistemology ................127
 7.2.1
The
museum’s
objectivity..........................................................................................131
 7.2.2
The
museum’s
work ..................................................................................................131
 7.2.3
Reference
to
visitor
knowledge.................................................................................131
 7.2.4
How
the
question
of
reliability
is
important
in
discussing
historical
meaning‐making
 in
the
museum ...................................................................................................................133
 7.3
The
Method
Element:
The
Articulation
of
Visitors’
Historical
Thinking ...........................136
 7.3.1
Historical
thinking
freestyle:
visitors’
use
of
the
six
concepts
of
historical
thinking .137
 7.3.2
The
enactment
of
historical
thinking
in
the
visitor
interview ...................................148
 7.4
The
Form
(of
Representation)
Element:
The
Visitors’
Historical
Meaning‐making ..........153
 vi
  
 7.4.1
Visitors’
engagement
with
the
exhibition’s
big
ideas................................................153
 7.4.2
A
visitor
typology.......................................................................................................155
 7.5
The
Function
Element:
Revisiting
the
Exhibition
–
the
Follow‐up
Study..........................159
 7.5.1
Visitors’
most
vivid
memories
of
BIQ ........................................................................160
 7.5.2
Conversations
about
the
exhibition ..........................................................................163
 7.5.3
Further
connections
with
the
exhibition ...................................................................164
 7.5.4
Doing
something
as
a
result ......................................................................................165
 7.6
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................167
 Chapter
8
 Discussion ...............................................................................................................170
 8.1
The
Heuristic
Qualities
of
Rüsen’s
Matrix
and
the
Historical
Thinking
Concepts
 Frameworks............................................................................................................................170
 8.1.1
Rüsen’s
disciplinary
matrix ........................................................................................170
 8.1.2
The
historical
thinking
concepts................................................................................171
 8.1.3
The
seamless
and
porous
exhibition
narratives:
two
pedagogies.............................173
 8.2
Implications
of
this
Study
for
Museum
Research
and
Practice ........................................174
 8.3
Critical
Museology
and
Future
Research..........................................................................179
 8.4
Limitations
of
Research ....................................................................................................180
 8.5
Epilogue............................................................................................................................181
 References
.................................................................................................................................184
 Appendix
A:
Permission
to
Conduct
Research
at
the
Museum..................................................196
 Appendix
B:
Recruiting
Advertising
For
Exhibition
Makers........................................................200
 Appendix
C:
Recruiting
Script
for
Museum
Visitors ...................................................................202
 Appendix
D:
Consent
Form
for
Exhibition
Makers .....................................................................204
 Appendix
E:
Consent
Form
for
Visitors.......................................................................................206
 Appendix
F:
Interview
Questionnaire
for
Exhibition
Makers .....................................................208
 Appendix
G:
Interview
Questionnaire
for
Museum
Visitors
–
In
situ.........................................210
 Appendix
H:
Questionnaire
for
Museum
Visitors
–
Weeks
After
Visit .......................................212
 Appendix
I:
Citation
Method
for
Interview
Excerpts..................................................................213
  vii
  
  List
of
Tables
 Table
3.1
Brief
Description
of
the
Six
Concepts
of
Historical
Thinking.........................................34
 Table
4.1
Being
Irish
O’Quebec
Visitor
Profile
(Research
Participants)........................................50
 Table
4.2
Overview
of
Data
Sources.............................................................................................53
 Table
4.3
Summary
of
Approach
to
Data
Analysis
–
The
Interpretive
Task
of
the
Exhibition
 Visitors..................................................................................................................................66
 Table
7.1
Comparison
Between
Reasons
Provided
for
Visiting
Museums
and
Motivations
for
 Visiting
BIQ .........................................................................................................................125
 Table
7.2
Coding
of
Visitor
Explanations
Concerning
the
Trustworthiness
of
Information
in
BIQ ............................................................................................................................................130
 Table
7.3
List
of
Sources
of
Historical
Information
Most
Trusted
by
BIQ
Visitors......................133
 Table
7.4
Level
of
Visitors’
Understanding
of
Historical
Epistemology
Using
Seixas’
 Categorization ....................................................................................................................134
 Table
7.5
Historical
Thinking
Concepts
(HTC)
Manifest
in
Visitor
Talk,
from
Most
to
Least
Used,
 with
Corresponding
Number
of
Utterances
and
Visitors ...................................................145
 Table
7.6
Repertory
of
Visitor
Criticism,
Recurrence
and
Coding ..............................................147
  viii
  
  List
of
Figures
 Figure
4.1
Jörn
Rüsen’s
disciplinary
matrix
(1993) .......................................................................60
 Figure
5.1
BIQ
floor
plan ..............................................................................................................75
 Figure
5.2
Entrance
area,
showing
the
introductory
video..........................................................76
 Figure
5.3
Introductory
figures
at
the
back
of
entrance
banners ................................................77
 Figure
5.4
Overview
of
exhibition
space,
with
timeline
in
the
background .................................78
 Figure
5.5
Lieu
de
mémoire
Grosse
Ile
zone:
shoe,
shards
of
pots
and
fragments
of
shawls
from
 the
quarantine
station..........................................................................................................79
 Figure
5.6
Lieu
de
mémoire
Grosse
Ile
zone:
jacket
worn
by
child
in
a
Montreal
orphanage
 (1847) ...................................................................................................................................80
 Figure
5.7
Lieu
de
mémoire
Grosse
Ile
zone:
Grey
Nun
costume.
Several
Catholic
congregations
 in
Montreal
helped
the
“famine
orphans”. ..........................................................................81
 Figure
5.8
Lieu
de
mémoire
St.
Patrick’s
Day
Parades
zone
(drawing).........................................82
 Figure
5.9
Lieu
de
mémoire
St.
Patrick’s
Day
Parades
zone:
protocols
and
notables ..................84
 Figure
5.10
Lieu
de
mémoire
St.
Patrick’s
Day
Parades
zone:
photograph
of
parade
watchers,
by
 Burt
Covit
(1988) ..................................................................................................................84
 Figure
5.11
Lieu
de
mémoire
St.
Colomban
zone:
stories
of
families
who
settled
in
rural
areas
in
 the
1820s..............................................................................................................................85
 Figure
5.12
Lieu
de
mémoire
Griffintown
zone:
overview
of
the
exhibition
area,
featuring
the
 early
urban
Irish
settlements ...............................................................................................86
 Figure
5.13
Overview
of
exhibition
space,
with
Guy
Carleton
listening
station
at
the
forefront.87
 Figure
5.14
Biography
zone:
Edmund
Bailey
O’Callaghan
(1797–1880) ......................................88
 Figure
5.15
Biography
zone:
Thomas
d’Arcy
McGee
(1825–1868).
Plaster
cast
of
McGee’s
hand
 and
commemorative
ribbon
for
his
funeral. ........................................................................89
 Figure
5.16
Biography
zone:
Tec
Aubry/Tadhg
Cornelius
O'Brennan
(1630–1687) .....................90
 Figure
5.17
Biography
zone:
drawings
of
listening
station ..........................................................91
 Figure
5.18
Biography
zone:
Mary
Bolduc
(1894–1941),
with
view
of
listening
station ..............92
 Figure
5.19
Digital
Comment
Board .............................................................................................93
 Figure
6.1
Description
of
the
“atmospheres”
for
each
exhibition
zone,
from
the
BIQ
scenario118
 
 ix
  
 
 
  Acknowledgements
 
  I
owe
much
to
the
exhibition
makers
and
museum
visitors
who
participated
in
this
  research
project.
Their
thoughts
and
insights
were
crucial
in
advancing
my
thinking
about
the
 place
that
museums
can
occupy
in
the
historical
consciousness
of
a
collectivity.

 
  I
was
fortunate
to
work
with
two
museums
deeply
committed
to
the
advancement
of
  museum
research
and
reflexive
practice:
the
McCord
Museum
of
Canadian
History
(research
 site)
and
the
Museum
of
Vancouver
(pilot
study
site
and
workplace).

 
  My
doctoral
supervisor,
Dr.
Peter
Seixas,
provided
attentive
mentoring
and
  encouragement
along
with
his
enduring
enthusiasm
for
my
work.
The
input
of
my
committee
 members,
Dr.
David
Anderson
and
Dr.
Carol
Mayer,
was
instrumental
in
shaping
this
 dissertation.
The
thoughtful
guidance
of
these
three
scholars
has
taught
me
the
art
of
research.

 
  The
unconditional
support
of
my
husband,
Werner
F.
Kaschel,
made
it
possible
to
bring
  this
work
to
fruition.
Without
him,
I
would
not
have
pursued
this
journey.
My
two
sweet
and
 caring
boys,
Frederick
and
Sébastien,
and
their
frequent
“You
can
do
it,
Maman!”
cheered
me
 up
when
I
needed
it
the
most.
My
parents,
Normand
Gosselin
and
Jacqueline
Laguë,
who
 nurtured
my
tenacity
and
intellectual
curiosity,
prepared
me
well
for
the
doctoral
challenge.
I
 thank
my
siblings,
Caroline,
Laurent
and
Martin,
and
my
in‐laws,
Louise
and
Werner
E.
Kaschel,
 for
their
love
and
for
believing
in
me.
 
  I
have
been
surrounded
by
exceptionally
understanding
friends:
Genevieve
Corriveau,
  Sylvie
Delisle,
Aline
Lemay,
Heather
Lane,
Susan
Rome,
Belinda
Strik,
and
the
“Peace
Arch
 Moms”
(Anne‐Marie
St‐Amour,
Amber
Joy,
Karen
Cunha).
Special
thanks
to
my
friend
Dr.
Lisa
 McIntosh,
who
became
my
ultimate
“study
buddy”.
 
  Lastly,
I
want
to
acknowledge
the
generous
contribution
of
the
Social
Sciences
and
  Humanities
Research
Council,
the
Faculty
of
Education
and
the
Department
of
Curriculum
and
 Pedagogy,
the
UBC
Centre
for
the
Study
of
Historical
Consciousness,
The
History
Education
 Network,
and
Canadians
and
Their
Pasts.
Their
financial
support
allowed
me
to
pursue
this
 research
endeavour
and
share
various
iterations
of
the
research
findings
with
the
museum
 community
in
Canada
and
abroad.

 x
  
  Chapter
1 




Introduction
 1.1 Setting the Stage 
  The
need
for
museums
to
become
civic
spaces
that
facilitate
public
dialogues
and
  reflections
on
topical
issues
is
a
theme
widely
discussed
in
museum
circles
(Hooper‐Greenhill,
 2006;
Janes,
2009;
Janes
&
Conaty,
2005;
Silverman,
2010;
Weil,
1999,
2002).
To
address
this
 need,
history
museums
must
create
new
interplays
between
the
past,
historical
knowledge,
 and
contemporary
realities.
As
a
way
to
participate
in
this
transformation,
this
study
explores
 the
application/appropriation
of
an
historical
thinking
pedagogy
to
rethink
how
museums
 “make
history”.
 
  For
the
past
thirty
years,
academics
and
educators
have
been
exploring
how
to
foster
  the
growth
of
historical
understanding
in
ways
that
transcend
the
demands
of
factual
 memorization.
In
this
process,
they
have
learned
to
pay
particular
attention
to
how
students
 and
adults,
but
also
teachers,
relate
to
the
past.
In
the
museum
field,
on
the
other
hand,
little
 is
known
about
the
way
museum
visitors’
conception
of
history
influences
how
they
engage
 with
exhibitions
or
historic
sites.
The
same
can
be
said
of
the
exhibition
as
learning
 environment.
We
do
not
have
a
strong
grasp
of
how
this
medium
stimulates
and
nurtures
 historical
thinking
and
historical
literacy.
These
are
important
questions,
as
museums
are
one
 of
the
few
public
institutions
mandated
to
facilitate
lifelong
learning
about
the
collective
past.

 
  This
research
investigates
how
historical
meaning‐making
is
provoked
and
inspired
by
  exhibitions
in
history
museums.
Although
historical
meaning‐making
can
take
place
in
all
types
 of
museal
institutions,
this
study
focuses
on
exhibitions
whose
producers
intend
to
convey
 historical
knowledge
and
whose
public
intends,
partly
at
least,
to
learn
about
past
events,
 people
and
places.
The
motivation
for
exploring
an
interdisciplinary
perspective
(drawing
from
 the
work
of
history
educators
and
museum
theorists)
stems
from
my
professional
experience
 in
museums.
Over
15
years
of
developing
exhibitions
in
British
Columbia,
I
have
become
 increasingly
fascinated
and
at
times
perplexed
by
this
medium’s
ability
to
support
the
historical
 explorations
of
visitors.
Formal
education
has
different
parameters
with
regard
to
content
 delivery,
setting,
audience
and
performance
expectations.
In
the
preliminary
stage
of
my
 investigation
it
became
apparent,
however,
that
research
on
historical
learning
and
thinking
 1
  
 could
stimulate
discussions
about
new
forms
of
exhibitionary
practice
and
new
avenues
for
 museum
studies
research.

  1.2 Research Questions Since
the
late
1970s,
research
in
museum
studies
has
intensified
and
contributed
to
a
 better
understanding
of
the
educational
capacity
and
social
agency
of
this
public
institution.
 This
area
of
research,
however,
has
not
explored
the
usefulness
of
historical
thinking
 frameworks
to
investigate
how
visitors
make
sense
of
the
past
in
the
exhibition
space.
The
aim
 of
my
doctoral
research
is
to
propose
an
enlarged
definition
of
the
museum
exhibition
as
a
 “meaning‐making
environment”
by
exploring
how
it
mobilizes
the
historical
thinking
of
 multiple
actors
(visitors
and
exhibition
makers)
with
different
and
yet
sometimes
convergent
 roles.
Such
exploration
takes
the
form
of
an
empirical
study,
which
involves
examining
the
 exhibition
through
the
perspectives
of
its
makers
and
visitors.
The
public
reception
segment
of
 the
study
investigates
how
historical
knowledge
is
grasped
in
the
context
of
a
non‐facilitated
 visit—that
is,
without
a
guided
tour
or
school
program.
This
is
an
important
distinction
because
 most
visitors
experience
museums
as
a
leisure
activity
and
have
only
sporadic
contact
with
 museum
staff.
In
this
context,
the
exhibition’s
physical
and
textual
characteristics
are
critical
in
 generating
meaning‐making
opportunities.

 This
empirical
inquiry
employs
an
interdisciplinary
approach,
drawing
from
key
ideas
 and
theoretical
frameworks
used
in
museum
studies,
historiography
and
history
education.
 Both
the
museological
and
historiographic
perspectives
support
my
exploration
of
the
complex
 and
dynamic
exhibitionary
performance
(the
production
and
public
reception
of
exhibitions)
as
 a
dialogical
process
that
is
both
educational
and
cultural
in
nature.1
Specifically,
this
study
 explores
the
pedagogical
and
heuristic
potential
of
two
analytical
frameworks.
The
first
one
 consists
of
a
disciplinary
matrix
developed
by
historian
Jörn
Rüsen
(1993),
who
examines
the
 inner
workings
of
history
as
an
intellectual
and
cultural
pursuit.
The
second
framework
consists
  























































 1  
In
social
sciences
and
humanities,
the
term
“performance”
is
used
to
convey
the
idea
of
the
“art
of
producing
 the
now”
and
the
notion
of
improvisation.
In
the
same
way,
I
employ
“performance”
to
describe
the
active
work
 involved
in
both
making
and
visiting
exhibitions.
The
term
also
emphasizes
the
unpredictability
of
the
event
(all
 exhibition
projects
are
unique
and
generate
different
meaning‐making
experiences
on
the
part
of
museum
staff
 and
visitors).
Lastly,
the
term
also
refers
to
the
emotional
and
physical
experiences
associated
with
making
and
 visiting
exhibitions.
  2
  
 of
six
concepts
underpinning
historical
thinking,
namely:
continuity
and
change,
cause
and
 consequence,
historical
significance,
historical
perspective,
evidence,
and
ethical
judgment.

 The
analysis
emerging
from
studying
historical
thinking
in
the
museum
connects
with
 scholarly
discussion
on
historical
consciousness,
in
that
it
examines
people’s
ability
to
engage
 with
the
exhibition’s
historical
narrative
and
make
sense
of
their
individual
and
collective
lives.
 Thus,
the
research
questions
structuring
this
inquiry
are:

 To
what
extent
can
historical
thinking
frameworks
be
useful
in
understanding
and
 assessing
the
meaning‐making
of
the
exhibitionary
performers
(exhibition
makers
and
 visitors)
in
the
museum?
 and,
as
a
sub‐question
:
 To
what
extent
can
these
emergent
understandings
of
the
visitors’
and
exhibition
 makers’
historical
meaning‐making
suggest
new
orientations/new
practices
in
 exhibition
development
and
museum
studies?

  1.3 Significance of the Study Western
societies
are
undergoing
fundamental
changes
as
the
intensification
of
global
 economic
systems,
the
increased
mobility
of
people,
ideas
and
goods,
and
the
proliferation
of
 new
communication
technologies
change
the
way
people
relate
to
time,
space
and
others.
The
 implications
for
museums
are
far‐reaching.
For
instance,
how
do
museums
make
the
past
 relevant
to
a
public
that
no
longer
shares
cultural
memories?
And
how
are
museums
to
 position
themselves
in
relation
to
more
accessible
historical
sources
and
productions
found
on
 the
Internet?
My
approach
to
studying
exhibitions
and
their
publics
will
provide
insights
and
 propose
tools
to
conceptualise
and
hopefully
enhance
the
changing
role
of
museums
in
 contemporary
culture.

 To
situate
the
relevance
of
this
doctoral
research,
I
refer
to
four
recent
large‐scale
 survey
findings
related
to
Canadian
museums:
   Over
27
million
people
visit
Canadian
museums
annually
(Statistics
Canada,
2010);2

    Despite
talk
about
increases
in
private‐sector
funding,
museums
in
Canada
continue
to
 be
largely
funded
by
government,
which
accounts
for
67%
of
museum
revenues
(Hill
  























































 2  
For
the
most
recent
annual
statistics
concerning
heritage
institutions
in
Canada
(year
2009),
consult
the
 Statistics
Canada
website
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/87f0002x/2010001/part‐partie1‐eng.htm.
  3
  
 Strategies
Research,
2008);3
   Although
97%
of
surveyed
Canadians
say
they
believe
that
museums
play
an
important
 role
in
preserving
objects
and
knowledge
of
Canada’s
history,
60%
believe
museums
 could
play
an
even
more
significant
role
in
Canadian
society
than
they
do
now
 (Canadian
Museum
Association,
2003);

    The
large
national
survey
Canadians
and
their
Pasts,
studying
the
significance
for
and
 use
of
the
past
by
Canadians,
indicates
that
85%
of
Canadians
highly
trust
museums’
 ability
to
generate
trustworthy
historical
information.
Museums
in
that
survey
were
the
 single
most
trusted
source
of
information
about
the
past
for
40%
of
Canadians,
 regardless
of
age,
gender,
education,
socio‐economic
status,
and
cultural
background.
If
 one
includes
the
respondents
who
selected
historic
sites,
this
figure
increases
to
53%
 (Conrad,
Letourneau,
&
Northrup,
2009).4
 How
can
we
interpret
these
figures?
Although
it
is
safe
to
say
that
most
Canadian
  museums
and
historic
sites
would
like
an
increase
in
the
size
and
demographic
diversity
of
 their
audience,
the
substantial
figures
on
annual
museum
attendance
tell
us
that
these
 institutions,
both
large
and
small,
have
the
potential
to
influence
many
Canadians’
 understanding
of
the
past.
In
addition
to
the
attendance
figures,
the
high
level
of
public
trust
in
 the
museum’s
ability
to
convey
reliable
historical
knowledge
is
another
reason
to
consider
the
 critical
role
of
the
museum
as
a
place
for
historical
meaning‐making.
Because
historical
 learning
is
an
under‐theorized
area
in
museum
studies,
it
is
difficult
to
assess
the
nature
of
this
 role.
As
many
historians
and
philosophers
have
reminded
us,
the
work
involved
in
historical
 interpretation
is
as
much
about
making
sense
of
the
present
and
future
as
it
is
about
resolving
 past
realities
(Létourneau,
2009;
Lowenthal,
2000;
Nora,
1989;
Tutiaux‐Guillon
&
Nourrisson,
 2003).
Indeed,
several
scholars
have
made
the
case
that
the
nature
of
historical
thinking
or
 historical
consciousness
influences
actions
carried
forward
(Gadamer,
1987;
Rüsen,
2004a,
 2004b;
Smith,
2006;
Stearns,
Seixas,
&
Wineburg,
2000).
For
this
reason,
understanding
how
 historical
meaning‐making
takes
place
in
the
museum
helps
us
to
appreciate
how
people
make
 























































 3  
The
private
sector
represents
only
9%
of
total
revenue,
while
earned
revenue
accounts
for
23%
(Hill
Strategies
 Research,
2008).
 4 
Other
sources
of
historical
information
presented
to
the
respondents,
with
corresponding
“most
trusted”
 percentages:
Internet,
8%;
fact‐based
history
books,
19%;
family
stories,
17%;
teachers,
30%.
  4
  
 sense
of
their
individual
and
collective
lives
and
how
this
understanding
shapes
contemporary
 culture.
Such
knowledge
may
determine
new
directions
for
museums
to
enhance
their
role
as
 public
sites
of
historical
consciousness.

 The
Canadian
Museum
Association
survey
of
2003
revealed
that
despite
the
public’s
 satisfaction
with
the
role
of
Canadian
museums
in
disseminating
knowledge
about
the
 collective
past,
a
large
number
of
Canadians
declared
that
museums
might
play
a
more
 substantial
role
in
such
projects.
The
nature
of
these
expectations
ought
to
be
more
fully
 investigated
in
qualitative
terms.

 As
recent
statistics
on
museum
revenues
tell
us,
Canadian
museums
rely
heavily
on
 government
funding.
This
support
indicates
the
willingness
of
the
state
and
its
citizens
to
 consider
cultural
services,
such
as
those
performed
by
museums,
as
important
for
the
well‐ being
and
development
of
the
collective.
Because
this
support
can
never
be
taken
for
 granted—as
we
can
see
with
the
latest
provincial
and
federal
budget
cutbacks
in
the
cultural
 sector—the
more
museums
understand
and
articulate
the
nature
of
their
social
and
 educational
value,
the
better
they
can
make
the
case
for
sustaining
and
increasing
public
 funding
(Janes,
2009;
Sheppard,
2010).
The
recent
collaborative
research
effort
involving
 museum
scholars
and
the
British
MLA
(Museums,
Libraries
and
Archives)
gives
weight
to
this
 idea
(Hooper‐Greenhill,
2007,
p.
15–30).
Just
as
importantly,
adopting
a
reflective
practice
 assists
museums
in
recalibrating
their
views
about
themselves
in
relation
to
their
public.

 My
research
program
addresses
issues
and
questions
emerging
from
these
surveys.
 These
issues
relate
to
the
nature
and
substance
of
historical
knowledge
generated
through
 museum
visits
and
the
public’s
understanding
of
the
role
of
museums
as
sites
of
history
 education.
My
conjecture
is
that
the
use
of
an
historical
thinking
framework
to
interpret
both
 visitors’
and
exhibition
team
members’
thoughts
and
understanding
of
an
exhibition
can
shed
 new
light
on
these
questions.
More
specifically,
it
produces
new
insights
into:
 a)
visitors’
historical
meaning‐making
experience
in
museums;
and

 b)
museum
exhibition
makers’
interpretive
work.

 Possible
implications
for
research
findings
are:
 a)
the
expansion
of
the
analytical
repertoire
for
the
critical
examination
of
exhibitionary
 performance
(production
and
public
reception);

 5
  
 b)
the
identification
of
a
conceptual
framework
for
exhibition
that
supports
the
 historical
explorations
of
visitors;
and
 c)
a
greater
understanding
of
the
educational
and,
by
extension,
social
role
of
museums
 in
contemporary
culture.
  1.4 Conclusion and Structure of the Dissertation 
  In
this
introductory
chapter,
I
delineated
the
context,
aim
and
significance
of
this
study,
  and
presented
the
research
questions.
The
remaining
chapters
are
organized
as
follows.

 
  In
chapter
2,
I
explore
key
discussions
about
the
evolving
role
of
museums
as
  institutions
of
public
education
and
identify
in
the
museum
studies
literature
three
 predominant
approaches
to
analysing
exhibitions
as
learning
environments.
In
the
final
section
 of
that
chapter,
I
locate
more
specifically
work
that
informs
the
theoretical
and
methodological
 scaffolding
of
my
inquiry.
 
  In
chapter
3,
I
review
the
principles
underpinning
an
historical
thinking
pedagogy
and
  introduce
the
six
dimensions
of
historical
thinking,
as
one
of
two
analytical
frameworks
 shaping
this
study.
I
locate
points
of
convergence
between
the
principles
underpinning
an
 historical
thinking
pedagogy
and
key
elements
found
in
the
discourse
on
critical
museology.
 In
chapter
4,
I
provide
a
rationale
for
developing
a
case
study
research
design
 employing
a
phenomenographic
methodology
to
investigate
how
museum
exhibitions
mobilize
 the
historical
thinking
of
visitors
and
exhibition
makers.
I
describe
how
analytical
tools
were
 deployed
to
generate
data
and
ultimately
answer
my
research
questions.

 
  In
chapter
5,
I
describe
the
museum
institution
and
exhibition
selected
for
my
case
  study.
I
also
introduce
the
exhibition
team
members
interviewed
for
the
analysis
of
the
making
 of
the
exhibition.
 
  In
chapter
6,
I
analyse
the
production
of
Being
Irish
O’Quebec.
I
examine
how
historical
  thinking
was
implicated
in
the
making
of
the
exhibition,
using
Rüsen’s
disciplinary
matrix
as
a
 structural
element.
 
  In
chapter
7,
I
analyse
the
public
reception
of
Being
Irish
O’Quebec.
I
examine
how
  historical
thinking
was
mobilized
when
making
sense
of
the
exhibition,
using
Rüsen’s
 disciplinary
matrix
as
a
structural
element.
  6
  
 
  In
chapter
8,
I
discuss
the
use
of
the
two
theoretical
frameworks,
return
to
my
research
  questions
and
provide
a
summary
of
the
study
and
its
findings.
I
discuss
the
implications
for
 museum
practice
and
suggest
avenues
for
future
research
arising
from
this
study.
The
 concluding
portion
reflects
on
the
research
journey
and
puts
it
in
the
context
of
a
search
for
 understanding
and
participating
in
the
changing
role
of
the
museum
as
a
public
institution
 promoting
lifelong
learning
about
the
past.

  7
  
  Chapter
2 Making
Sense
of
the
World
in
the
Museum
 Although
the
museum
as
we
know
it
has
been
with
us
for
some
two
hundred
years,
 we
are
only
in
the
foothills
of
learning
about
the
ways
in
which
the
museum’s
visitors
 respond
to
the
objects
it
shows.
(Weil,
2002,
p.
205–206)
  
 
  The
museum’s
claim
to
educate
the
public
for
the
betterment
of
individuals
and
society
  via
its
exhibitions
has
been
under
intense
scrutiny
for
the
past
four
decades.
Although
few
 scholars
would
disagree
with
the
centrality
of
public
education
in
contemporary
museums,
 views
on
the
substance
of
this
core
function
vary
significantly.
To
address
the
notion
of
the
 museum
exhibition
as
learning
environment,
this
chapter
examines
scholarly
research
on
 museum
education
but
also
refers
to
the
more
implicit
discussions
of
its
educational
role.5
To
 this
end,
I
review
critical
works
in
museum
studies
that
have
investigated
the
public
reception
 and
the
production
of
exhibitions,
to
establish
how
visitors
and
knowledge
representation
in
 the
museum
are
conceptualised
by
museum
scholars.
 
  The
first
section
of
this
chapter
explores
the
educational
function
of
public
museums
as
  an
evolving
role
that
has
moved
from
imparting
knowledge
to
an
audience
to
mediating
and
 co‐authoring
meaning
with
the
public.
The
second
section
examines
the
conception
of
visitors
 in
museum
studies
literature
interested
in
the
public
effect
of
exhibitions.
My
argument
is
 structured
around
two
polarized
approaches
within
this
literature:
while
one
stream
of
 research
tends
to
emphasize
the
historical/structural
forces
informing
the
production
of
 exhibitions,
the
other
concentrates
on
the
visitor
agency.
Within
this
spectrum,
a
median
 position
on
studying
exhibitions
emerges.
In
the
final
portion
of
this
chapter,
particular
 attention
is
given
to
work
located
within
the
median
position,
as
it
informs
the
methodological
 scaffolding
of
my
inquiry.

  2.1 Museum Education: From Teaching to Mediating and Co-producing Knowledge 
  An
appreciation
for
the
museum’s
historical
developments
from
the
eighteenth
century
  contributes
to
an
understanding
of
the
museum’s
educational
role
in
contemporary
society
 























































 5  
The
scope
of
the
literature
referred
to
in
this
paper
is
limited
to
museum
publications
written
in
or
translated
 into
English
or
French.
  8
  
 and
its
enduring
influence
in
Western
culture.
The
museum
has
been
depicted
as
a
creature,
 an
archetype,
or
an
instrument
of
modernity’s
project,
supporting
its
nation‐state
building,
 colonialist
and
capitalist
endeavours
(Barringer
&
Flynn,
1998;
Bennett,
1995;
Carbonell,
2004;
 Duncan,
1995;
Knell
et
al.,
2010;
Macdonald,
2003;
Preziosi
&
Farago,
2004).
Numerous
studies
 have
explored
the
relationship
between
the
emergence
of
a
positivist‐empiricist
stance
that
 characterized
modernity,
and
the
philosophical
and
pedagogical
approach
of
the
early
modern
 museums
(Bennett,
1995,
2006;
Deloche,
2007;
Huyssen,
2003;
Knell,
2007;
Pearce,
2010).
 These
analyses
have
demonstrated
how
exhibitions
became
spatial,
visual
and
tri‐dimensional
 representations
of
scientific
rationalism.
The
belief
in
a
universal,
fixed
body
of
knowledge,
and
 in
the
existence
of
an
objective
reality
and
natural
laws
that
captured
this
reality,
dictated
the
 museum’s
educational
program.
The
study
of
the
world
having
been
conceived
as
divided
into
 separate
fields
of
knowledge,
the
task
of
educational
institutions
like
schools
and
museums
 consisted
of
“grasping
the
world”
through
the
transmission
of
the
tenets
of
disciplinary
 knowledge
to
their
public
(Gurian,
2006;
Willinsky,
1998).
Knowledge
transmission
in
the
 museum
often
meant
making
visible
to
the
layman
the
objective
structure
of
scientific
 knowledge
by
means
of
display—taxonomic
exhibits
of
natural
history
specimens,
or
 ethnographic
presentations
of
“primitive
societies”
epitomizing
such
concepts.
Successful
 learning
was
accordingly
assessed
by
the
learner’s
ability
to
uncritically
absorb
these
notions,
 presented
as
truth
(Hooper‐Greenhill,
1992,
1994,
2000).

 
  As
museum
historians
have
pointed
out,
alternative
ways
of
considering
knowledge
in
  the
museum
emerged
more
persistently
in
the
second
part
of
the
twentieth
century.
The
 radical
reconsideration
of
culture
by
scholars
in
social
sciences
and
humanities,
referred
to
as
 the
“cultural
turn”,
had
a
far‐reaching
impact
upon
the
way
Western
museums
considered
 knowledge
and
its
dissemination
to
the
general
public
(Deetz,
2004/1980;
Munslow,
2007;
 Pollock,
2007;
Shanks
&
Hodder,
2007).
Two
world
wars,
the
brutal
violence
of
European
 colonization,
and
the
environmental
effects
of
overconsumption
contributed
to
a
shake‐up
in
 Western
culture’s
beliefs
about
the
ideals
of
rationalism
and
progress.
The
ensuing
scepticism,
 summed
up
in
Lyotard’s
expression
“the
incredulity
for
the
grand
narrative”
(Lyotard,
 1979/1984),
pressured
researchers
in
most
scientific
fields
(to
a
lesser
extent
in
the
natural
 sciences)
to
reconceptualise
the
notions
of
truth
and
knowledge
as
social
and
cultural
 constructs
rather
than
absolutes
or
fixed
entities.
If
knowledge
was
a
construct,
it
could
no
 9
  
 longer
be
considered
context‐independent
and
objective—and
consequently,
scientific
claims
 had
to
be
relativised
as
defensible
propositions
bound
to
be
partial
and
contingent.
Teaching
 and
learning
could
no
longer
be
considered
a
transmission
of
the
truth,
but
rather
the
sharing
 of
meaning
that
was
historically
and
culturally
situated
(Hooper‐Greenhill,
2007a;
Leone
&
 Little,
2004;
Macdonald
&
Fyfe,
1996;
Meijer‐Van
Mensch
&
Mensch,
2010).

 A
shift
in
conceptualising
learning
emerged
concurrently,
inspired
by
the
work
of
 scholars
in
the
field
of
psychology
initiated
in
the
first
half
of
the
twentieth
century.
Jerome
 Bruner,
Jean
Piaget
and
Lev
Vygotsky,
to
name
a
few,
helped
change
the
focus
from
learning
 based
on
behaviour
to
acts
of
meaning‐
and
sense‐making,
and
as
individual
and
socio‐cultural
 processes
(Stearns,
et
al.,
2000).6
This
perspective
opposed
the
transmission
model
of
 teaching,
whereby
learners
were
expected
to
absorb
the
content
of
well‐crafted
lessons.
Thus,
 the
recognition
that
people
did
not
absorb
new
knowledge
but
rather
constructed
it
by
 adjusting
mental
models
to
accommodate
new
experiences
forced
institutions
associated
with
 public
education,
like
schools
and
museums,
to
reconsider
what
learning
meant
(G.
Hein,
1998;
 Hooper‐Greenhill,
1994;
Hooper‐Greenhill
&
Moussouri,
2002;
Roschelle,
1995).
A
number
of
 museum
theorists
have
argued
that
this
radical
change
in
perceiving
knowledge
(how
it
is
 made
and
how
it
is
apprehended)
has
destabilized
modernity’s
ideals
rather
than
replaced
 them,7
producing
a
range
of
theoretical
accommodations
that
facilitate
new
ways
of
thinking
 about
knowledge
production
and
learning
processes
in
everyday
life,
in
schools
and
in
 museums
(G.
Hein,
2006;
H.
S.
Hein,
2000;
Hooper‐Greenhill,
2006,
2007a;
Pollock
&
Zemans,
 2007;
Robert,
1997).
This
idea
was
clearly
demonstrated
in
George
Hein’s
book
Learning
in
the
 Museum
(1998),
in
which
he
explained
the
possible
coexistence
of
traditional
and
more
 progressive
approaches
to
knowledge
and
learning
in
contemporary
museums.
For
instance,
in
 plenty
of
examples
of
recent
exhibitions,
visitors
were
conceived
as
passive
recipients
of
 information,
while
their
makers
recognized
that
knowledge
is
a
social
construct.
Hein’s
point
is
 that,
knowingly
or
unknowingly,
museums
have
rarely
completely
abandoned
past
practices
 























































 6  
The
authors
trace
a
good
historical
development
of
the
“cognitive
revolution”
in
their
introduction,
p.
1–15.
 

Thus,
the
reluctance
to
refer
to
these
developments
as
postmodern,
a
term
that
suggests
that
modernity
is
a
 thing
of
the
past.
Some
critics
have
underlined
the
distinction
by
naming
these
two
periods
“early
and
late
 modernity”,
while
others
have
used
the
term
“liquid
modernity”
to
describe
contemporary
times.
Although
I
 subscribe
to
the
idea
that
there
is
no
definite
rupture
between
the
two
historical
periods,
for
the
sake
of
clarity
I
 shall
term
“postmodern”
epistemologies
that
conceive
of
knowledge
as
mental
and
social
constructions.

 7  10
  
 and
the
notion
of
objective
and
value‐free
knowledge,
and
the
transmission
model
of
teaching
 and
learning
continues
to
inform
(some)
museum
practice
today.
Nevertheless,
the
sweeping
 changes
in
knowledge
and
learning
theories
have
resulted
in
museums
generally
becoming
 more
inclined
to
consider
their
role
as
mediators
of
learning
experiences
rather
than
providers
 of
authoritative
knowledge.
This
interest
in
conceptualising
and
creating
learning
experiences
 in
the
museum
corresponded
to
the
intensification
in
the
1990s
of
visitor
studies
informed
by
 socio‐constructivist
theory
(Allen
et
al.,
2007;
Blud,
1990;
Dufresne‐Tasse,
1996;
Falk
&
 Adelman,
2003;
Falk
&
Dierking,
1992,
2000),
and
more
recently,
socio‐cultural
theory
 (Ellenbogen,
2002;
Kelly,
2010a;
Leinhardt,
Crowley,
&
Knutson,
2002;
Leinhardt
&
Knutson,
 2004).
From
this
perspective,
the
institution’s
prime
educational
goal
is
to
create
opportunities
 for
meaningful
encounters
between
material
culture,
ideas
and
people
in
ways
that
take
into
 consideration
the
visitors’
diverse
experiences,
prior
knowledge,
and
identities.


 
  Another
key
outcome
of
the
cultural
turn
was
the
unsettling
realization
that
museums
  had
until
then
exclusively
favoured
a
Eurocentric/white/male/heterosexual
perspective.
This
 caused
museums
to
gradually
revise
how
they
collected,
studied
and
displayed
their
 collections,
to
develop
practices
that
were
more
inclusive,
explicit
and
self‐conscious.
This
 state
of
self‐awareness
led
to
the
emergence
of
a
more
reflexive
approach
to
museum
theory
 and
practice,
often
referred
to
as
critical
museology.

 
  Critical
museology
questions
what
a
museum
is,
what
it
does
and
what
it
can
become.
  The
term
has
been
used
in
multiple
contexts,
and
also
interchangeably
at
times
with
“new
 museum
theory
and
practice”,
“critical
museum
theory”
and
“new
museology”,
but
 consistently
involves
the
notion
of
critical
evaluation
of
museum
practices
and
histories
 (Lindauer,
2006;
Macdonald,
2006;
Teather,
1983;
Van
Mensch,
1992).
Its
aim
is
to
interrogate
 the
methodologies
underpinning
historical
and
current
museum
practices.
Hooper‐Greenhill
 suggested
that
critical
museology
is
the
enactment
of
the
tension
and
negotiations
between
 the
modern
and
postmodern
epistemologies,
as
museums
attempt
to
move
away
from
the
 more
static,
linear,
singular
viewpoint
associated
with
modernist
epistemology
(2006).
She
 argued,
“The
ambition
to
provide
a
single
unified
objective
explanation
of
the
world
and
its
 people
that
would
be
applicable
in
all
circumstances
has
been
exposed
as
the
embodiment
of
a
 limited
Eurocentric
masculinist
perspective”
(p.
370).
Thus,
critical
museology
has
been
 primarily
employed
to
examine
the
politics
of
domination,
with
a
particular
focus
on
Western
 11
  
 museum
collections
and
exhibitions
representing
non‐Western
cultures,
in
the
hope
of
 decolonizing
the
museum
(Ames,
1992;
Butler,
2000;
Clifford,
2004;
Karp,
Kratz,
Szwaja,
&
 Ybarra‐Frausto,
2006;
Karp,
Kreamer,
&
Lavine,
1992;
Karp
&
Lavine,
1991;
Shelton,
2001).
This
 critical
examination
can
be
applied
in
other
exhibitionary
contexts
to
raise
questions
about
 normalized
societal
values,
myths,
the
national
past,
and
directions
for
the
future
(Carnegie,
 2006;
Corrin,
2004/1994;
Gable,
2006;
Hawes,
1986).
Critical
museology
wants
to
make
explicit
 that
museums
are
not
neutral
spaces,
that
they
are
informed
by
the
cultural,
historical
and
 political
agendas
of
their
stakeholders.
These
commentaries
take
the
form
of
textual
analyses
 as
well
as
actual
museum
interventions
in
the
form
of
exhibitions,
programs
and
events.
Such
 performances
often
address
controversial
or
taboo
subjects
to
generate
public
debates.
These
 works
often
criticise
dominant
practices
and
at
times
propose
alternatives—that
is,
new
 museum
models,
promoting
more
democratic
exchanges,
inclusion
and
diversity
(Cameron,
 2005;
Cameron
&
Kelly,
2010;
Golding,
2009;
Marstine,
2006;
Porter,
2004).
For
instance,
 Mieke
Bal
(2006)
suggested
visual
strategies
that
could
interfere
with
the
conventional
displays
 of
the
art
gallery
space,
while
Lindauer
(2006)
proposed
a
set
of
questions
for
visitors
to
query
 tacit
values
embedded
in
the
museum
environment.
Cultural
anthropologist
Saloni
Mathur
 captured
the
aim
of
this
engagement
with
museum
theory
and
practice:
“Critical
museology
 should
teach
the
capacity
for
social
justice
in
our
cultural
institutions”
(Mathur,
2005,
p.
706).
 Within
the
practice
of
critical
museology,
education
is
viewed
as
supporting
new
forms
of
civic
 engagement,
often
through
provocation.
 
  A
trend
at
times
overlapping
with
but
distinguishable
from
critical
museology
has
been
  described
by
Meier‐Van
Mensch
and
Van
Mensch
(2010)
as
the
“participatory
paradigm”.
 Groups
and
communities
whose
voices
had
been
absent
from
official
narratives
insisted
on
 having
their
stories
and
perspectives
presented
in
the
museum.
This
development
was
 associated
with
multiple
emancipation
movements
of
the
1990s,
including
third‐wave
 feminism,
queer
rights,
post‐colonial
resistance,
post‐apartheid,
capitulation
of
communism,
 aboriginal
rights
and
sovereignty,
and
the
growing
multiculturalism
of
Western
countries
 (Bodo,
Gibbs,
&
Sani,
2009;
Meijer‐Van
Mensch
&
Mensch,
2010;
Silverman
&
O'Neill,
2004).
 Previously
marginalized
voices
co‐opted
the
curatorial
program
or
collaborated
in
the
rewriting
 of
their
narratives,
whether
critical
or
celebratory
(Karp,
et
al.,
1992;
Karp
&
Lavine,
1991;
 Robert,
1997;
Sandell,
2002).
These
forms
of
interactions
between
museums
and
various
 12
  
 community
groups
have
also
encouraged
scholars
to
explore
the
museum’s
educational
 potential
for
fostering
a
culture
of
inclusion,
for
embracing
the
notion
of
interculturalism
and
 shared
imaginaries,
and
for
facilitating
new
forms
of
community
participation
in
the
museum
 (Bhabha,
2004;
Clifford,
2004;
Preziosi
&
Farago,
2004;
Shelton,
2001).

 
  The
recent
emergence
and
intensification
of
Web‐based
technologies
and
social
  networking
have
supported
new
forms
of
public
participation
in
the
museum.
These
new
 technologies
of
communication
have
radically
changed
the
relationship
between
institutions
 and
the
public
regarding
knowledge
production
and
dissemination,
and
power
relations.
 Individuals
and
small
organizations,
alongside
public
institutions,
can
now
generate
knowledge,
 voice
their
concerns,
and
share
their
perspectives
and
insights
publicly.
This
digital
revolution
 has
created
new
platforms
for
civic
engagement,
and
engendered
new
needs
and
expectations
 from
the
public
(or
segments
of
the
public)
to
be
included
in
some
capacity
in
the
development
 of
museum
productions,
online
or
in
situ.
This
influence
has
manifested
itself
through
some
 exhibition
teams
adopting
an
increasingly
collaborative
process,
encouraging
crowd
sourcing,
 and
supporting
citizen‐curator
initiatives
(Kelly,
2010b;
Kelly
&
Russo,
2010;
Simon,
2010).
 Museum
researchers
and
practitioners
are
currently
trying
to
harness
the
potentials
of
these
 new
technologies
(at
pragmatic
and
philosophical
levels)
for
the
benefit
of
their
educational
 mandate.
They
are
also
grappling
with
the
implications
of
these
new
developments.
Balancing
 professional
expertise,
specialized
knowledge
and
popular
wisdom,
and
sustaining
dialogue
 between
online
communities
and
museums
are
two
key
issues
related
to
these
technological
 developments
(M.
Anderson,
2008;
Lally,
2010;
Simon,
2010).
The
co‐authoring
of
knowledge
 involving
visitors
is
considered
a
form
of
public
engagement
that
can
effectively
support
 learning
and
meaning‐making
in
the
museum.
  2.2 The Exhibition Effects 
  The
preceding
section
described
the
changing
conceptions
of
knowledge
and
learning,
  and
the
implication
of
these
changes
for
museum
research
and
practice.
In
the
following
 section,
I
categorize
a
vast
and
diverse
body
of
literature
that
examines
exhibitions
from
 various
theoretical
frameworks.
Because
this
museum
literature
is
motivated
by
different
sets
 of
questions,
it
generates
a
wide
range
of
understandings
about
the
exhibition’s
ability
to
  13
  
 provoke
“distinctive
and
desired
impressions”8
in
an
audience.
The
museum
literature
 examining
the
exhibition
as
a
meaning‐making
environment
is
immense.
The
aim
of
such
 groupings
is
to
understand
the
trend
in
current
discussions,
and
is
by
no
means
a
 comprehensive
listing
of
publications
by
category.

  2.2.1 Considering
the
visitor
as
passive
recipient
of
knowledge
 
  The
museum
literature
in
this
grouping
tends
to
study
exhibitions
as
cultural
artefacts
  and
as
historical
and
social
phenomena.
Scholars
involved
in
these
types
of
study
are
cultural
 critics,
anthropologists
or
sociologists
investigating
the
meaning
of
exhibition
visiting
as
social,
 cultural
and
historical
practice,
while
examining
the
naturalized
conventions
of
collecting
and
 displaying
objects
(Bennett,
1995;
Krauss,
2004/1990;
Macdonald
&
Fyfe,
1996).
These
studies
 attempt
to
understand
the
“what
and
why”
of
the
exhibition’s
educational
function
in
Western
 society.
Their
aim
is
to
locate
the
cultural
and
political
functions
of
exhibitions
and
modes
of
 representation
in
relation
to
power
structures.
For
many
of
these
scholars,
the
influential
 nature
of
the
exhibition
is
often
understood
as
a
“technology
of
power”
(Bennett,
2004;
 Duncan,
2004/1999;
Knell,
et
al.,
2010;
Willinsky,
1998).
It
is
instrumental
in
perpetuating
and
 consolidating
(or
educating
the
audience
about)
existing
power
relations
by
normalizing
certain
 values
and
beliefs
endorsed
by
dominant
groups
(Bennett,
2006;
Duncan,
1995;
Fraser,
2007).
 
  As
a
result
of
this
focus,
exhibition
analyses
in
this
category
consist
of
readings
of
the
  exhibition
that
take
into
account
the
curators’
intent
and
the
larger
cultural
and
sociological
 context
of
production.
In
these
analyses,
the
visitor
response
is
largely
absent
from
the
 discussion,
implying
a
passive
assimilation
of
the
museum
intent
by
the
public.
It
is
striking
that
 in
anthologies
such
as
Thinking
About
Exhibition
(1996),
Grasping
the
World:
The
Idea
of
the
 Museum
(2004),
Museum
Studies:
An
Anthology
of
Contexts
(2004),
A
Companion
to
Museums
 Studies
(2006),
and
Museum
Frictions
(2006)—all
key
museum
literature
references—most
 essays
describe
the
public’s
response
to
exhibitions
only
in
generic
terms.
The
analyses
tend
to
 focus
on
conditions
of
production—that
is,
on
the
tensions
and
negotiations
that
influence
the
 conceptualising
of
exhibitions
in
particular
socio‐cultural
contexts.
The
physical
outcomes
of
 the
decisions
thereby
made
(the
exhibitions),
and
the
public’s
reception,
are
discussed
only
 superficially.
Indeed,
neither
the
individual
visitor
nor
the
public
in
general
has
much
agency
in
 























































 8  
From
the
Merriam
Webster
dictionary
definition
of
“effect”
(2004).
  14
  
 these
essays.
Little
importance
is
placed
on
the
individual’s
reflexivity
and
meaning‐making.
 These
studies
rarely
include
the
perspectives
of
visitors
or
of
front‐line
staff
who
are
in
direct
 contact
with
the
public.
The
visitors
are
thus
too
often
treated
as
a
homogenous
group
that
 will
be
affected
by
a
given
exhibition
in
predictable
ways
related
to
their
gender,
ethnicity,
and
 class
identity.

 
  The
literature
in
this
category
can
be
interpreted
as
pessimistic
in
the
way
it
often
  depicts
the
museum
institution
at
the
mercy
of
powerful
historical
and
political
undercurrents.
 Visitors
are
commonly
seen
as
passive
recipients
of
values
endorsed
by
dominating
groups.
 However,
many
of
these
authors
also
acknowledged
the
potential
of
contemporary
exhibitions
 to
denounce
the
status
quo
and
to
transgress
by
“denaturalizing”
normative
values
and
 common‐sense
beliefs.
Given
its
privileged
position
(close
to
governing
power
and
yet
 responsive
to
pressure
from
the
public
sphere),
the
exhibition
space
in
the
later
part
of
the
 twentieth
century
came
to
be
considered
a
site
with
a
potential
to
subvert
and
critically
 engage
with
issues
of
power
inherent
in
the
very
act
of
collecting,
studying
and
displaying
 objects.
When
citing
examples
of
resistance
and
critical
engagement,
which
tie
in
with
the
 earlier
discussion
on
critical
museology,
I
would
argue
that
two
aspects
have
often
been
 overlooked
or
assumed:
(a)
the
adequacy
of
rendering
these
critical
ideas
in
the
exhibition
 media
and
(b)
the
nature
of
public
understanding
and
receptivity
of
this
critical
museology
(as
 opposed
to
the
response
of
experts
familiar
with
these
ideas).
In
other
words,
a
curator
may
 possess
a
good
theoretical
grasp
and
a
desire
to
critically
engage
with
culturally
sensitive
ideas,
 but
these
intentions
may
not
be
effectively
represented
in
the
exhibition.
The
text
panels
may
 reflect
the
intentions,
but
for
many
reasons
the
exhibition
environment
may
not
convey
such
 concepts
to
an
audience
of
non‐experts.
It
is
accurate
to
say
that
the
sheer
presence
of
certain
 topics—for
instance,
the
exhibitions
on
AIDS
at
Sweden’s
Museum
of
World
Cultures
(2004),
 on
menstruation
at
the
Powerhouse
Museum
in
Australia
(2005),
and
on
sexuality
at
the
 Centre
de
Sciences
de
Montreal
(2010)—has
been
indicative
of
a
desire
to
enact
the
role
of
 provocateur.
These
exhibitions
were
symptomatic
of
a
desire
to
engage
in
debate
on
topical
 issues.
This
desire
did
not
guarantee,
however,
that
the
communicative
potential
of
the
 exhibition
media
would
be
utilized
to
its
full
potential.
While
it
is
justifiable
to
assume
that
 certain
topics,
themes
or
types
of
spatial
arrangement
will
appeal
to
visitors’
cultural
 sensitivities,
curatorial
intent
and
public
response
are
two
entities
that
cannot
be
equated— 15
  
 hence
the
necessity
to
develop
research
methodologies
that
are
attentive
to
the
visitors’
 sense‐making
in
the
museum.

  2.2.2 Considering
the
visitor
as
active
learner
 
  The
works
reviewed
in
the
above
section
are
concerned
with
societal
values
and
norms
  embodied
in
the
aesthetic
of
the
exhibition.
The
body
of
literature
falling
under
the
following
 category
addresses
the
transformation
of
the
visitor
as
individual.
These
investigations
are
 interested
in
the
visitor’s
meaning‐making
in
the
exhibition
space
and
are
generally
supported
 by
theory
in
the
fields
of
education
and
psychology.
As
a
result,
the
educational
role
of
the
 museum
in
these
studies
is
explicitly
addressed.

 
  In
many
of
these
studies,
museum
learning
is
described
as
lifelong
learning
or
free‐  choice
learning,
emphasizing
the
informal,
self‐directed
nature
of
the
museum
visit
(Falk
&
 Dierking,
2000;
Robert,
1997).
Acting
as
a
backdrop
to
these
discussions
is
an
 acknowledgement
that
understanding
visitors’
learning
has
become
a
matter
of
survival.
The
 intellectual
and
social
accessibility
of
exhibition
contents
is
not
only
viewed
as
a
necessary
step
 toward
the
democratization
of
the
museum
but
is
also
recognized
as
a
matter
of
financial
 sustainability
(Leinhardt,
et
al.,
2002,
p.
301).
In
response
to
these
pressures
of
 democratization
and
competition,
museums
see
an
intensification
of
visitor
studies
as
a
way
to
 measure
museums’
ability
to
perform
as
educational
public
facilities.
In
this
category
of
 literature,
the
visitor
is
not
imagined
but
is
in
direct
contact
with
evaluators
and
researchers.
 Learning
in
and
from
exhibitions
is
not
assumed;
it
is
assessed,
measured
and
qualified.

 
  Exemplifying
the
discourse
encountered
in
this
literature
is
the
widely
cited
Contextual
  Model
of
Learning
developed
by
Falk
and
Dierking
(2000).
It
identifies
characteristics
that
 influence
learning
experience,
mediated
through
three
overlapping
contexts
(personal,
social‐ cultural,
physical).
The
model’s
underlying
principle
is
that
all
learning
is
context‐dependent
 and
is
the
result
of
the
interaction
between
these
three
contexts.
Although
it
recognizes
that
 the
museum
visit
is
situated
within
a
larger
educational
and
social
infrastructure,
the
concept
 of
culture—in
Falk’s
work
and
subsequent
studies
employing
this
model—is
addressed
in
 generic
terms
(Astor‐Jack,
Whaley,
Dierking,
Perry,
&
Garibay,
2007;
Blud,
1990;
Borum,
2002).
 Although
some
studies
have
been
useful
in
determining
the
influence
of
the
visitor
identity
on
 learning
(Ellenbogen,
2002;
Rounds,
2006),
most
studies
in
this
category
have
not
been
helpful
 16
  
 in
understanding
how
museum
visits
are
negotiated
through
visitors’
positionalities—that
is,
 how
gender,
class
and
ethnicity
influence
meaning‐making.
Exhibitions
are
viewed
as
“learning
 labs”.
The
exhibition
environment
is
valued
as
a
place
where
people
not
only
learn
something
 about
a
particular
topic
but
also
learn
to
socialize,
learn
about
themselves,
and
learn
to
learn.
 These
research
endeavours
are
often
used
to
optimize
learning
and
to
engineer
exhibitions
as
 lifelong
learning
mediators.
Learning
outcomes
are
valued,
whether
or
not
they
are
connected
 with
the
exhibition
makers’
intent.
For
instance,
some
studies
have
determined
that
 exhibitions
can
enhance
the
development
of
skills
related
to
team‐building
and
collaborative
 learning
about
one’s
learning
strategies
(Crowley
&
Jacobs,
2002;
Ellenbogen,
2002),
the
 emphasis
being
on
the
visitor’s
personal
learning
curriculum
rather
than
the
institution’s.
 
  These
studies
contribute
to
understanding
the
capacity
of
museums
to
foster
individual
  learning
in
informal
settings.
They
take
the
form
of
a
“zoom
in”
on
the
visitor
learning
 experience.
Such
focus,
however,
runs
the
risk
of
atomizing
the
visitor;
that
is,
the
visitor
 learning
experience
is
contextualized
in
the
confines
of
her/his
life
experience
as
a
learner.
 These
studies
tend
to
value
visitor
learning
for
learning’s
sake
and
do
not
question
the
value
or
 nature
of
such
learning
in
relation
to
larger
questions
raised
by
the
museum
itself,
or
topical
 social
and
cultural
issues. 
  2.2.3 Considering
the
individuality
and
social
agency
of
the
visitor:
the
median
 position
 The
first
two
categories
of
literature
study
the
exhibition
effect,
focusing
almost
 exclusively
on
either
the
historical
and
structural
forces
informing
the
making
of
the
exhibition
 or
on
the
individual
learning
capacity
of
the
visitor.
Within
this
spectrum,
I
situate
a
“median
 position”,
with
literature
that
takes
into
consideration
elements
of
both
types
of
exploration.
 The
“median
position”
conceptualises
the
exhibition
as
a
meaning‐making
environment
by
 acknowledging
the
following
aspects:

   the
exhibition’s
public
reception
is
mediated
by
the
visitor’s
multiple
characteristics
 and
unique
ability
to
make
sense
of
the
exhibition;

    the
exhibition’s
form,
content
and
public
reception
are
to
be
situated
historically
 and
culturally;
and
  17
  
   the
participation
of
the
exhibition
in
contemporary
culture
will
be
enacted
in
large
 part
through
the
visitor’s
intellectual
and
physical
engagement
with
the
exhibition
 media.

  
  The
following
sub‐sections
examine
the
work
of
seven
scholars
whose
analyses
of
  exhibitions
exemplify
this
category.
They
present
both
methodologies
and
key
ideas
that
have
 informed
my
research
project.
I
want
to
stress
here
that
museum
scholars
engaging
in
these
 conversations
are
often
directly
involved
in
the
development
of
new
forms
of
exhibition.
This
 characteristic
of
museum
research
suggests
that
it
maintains
an
active
relationship
with
 academia
and
disciplinary
fields
(Macleod,
2005;
Teather,
1983).
 Judith
Mastai:
the
museum’s
public
responsibility
and
the
public’s
path
of
desire.
 
  Two
interdependent
ideas
presented
by
late
museum
scholar
and
educator
Judith
  Mastai
are
particularly
helpful
in
furthering
our
understanding
of
the
exhibition
as
a
learning
 environment:
the
museum’s
public
responsibility
and
the
visitor’s
path
of
desire
(Pollock
&
 Zemans,
2007).

 
  Mastai
described
the
role
of
visual
art
and
art
exhibitions
as
“a
form
of
thought
and
a
  provocation
of
thoughts”.
To
view
any
exhibitions
(whether
historical,
scientific
or
artistic)
as
a
 form
of
thought
and
a
provocation
of
thoughts
implicates
both
the
producer
and
the
audience.
 Mastai
recognized
that
the
role
of
museum
as
provocateur
is
played
in
a
context
where
 museums
must
cautiously
navigate
around
marketing
pressures
and
the
demands
of
 consumerism.
She
discussed
the
museum’s
ability
to
negotiate
the
tension
between
its
 multiple
accountabilities
toward
its
publics,
funding
agencies
and
scientific/scholarly
 communities.
She
acknowledged
how
unrealistic
it
is
to
presume
that
a
museum
can
act
 outside
the
power
relation
from
which
these
multiple
accountabilities
originate.
Amidst
these
 pressures,
she
insisted
the
museum
must
remain
responsible
for
exposing
the
public
to
a
 particular
body
of
discipline‐based
knowledge.
Mastai
did
not
view
disciplinary
knowledge
as
 an
end
in
itself
but
rather
as
cognitive
schemes,
cultural
and
contingent
representations,
 designed
to
make
sense
of
the
world
and
act
upon
it,
individually
and
collectively.
She
valued
 the
structure
of
disciplinary
knowledge,
and
the
agency
of
the
learner
engaged
in
connecting
 with
particular
curricula.
The
museum’s
responsibility
does
not
reside
in
pleasing
the
  18
  
 “customer”
at
all
costs
but
rather
in
remaining
responsive
to
visitors’
sensitivities
and
 knowledge
while
exposing
them
to
new,
inspiring,
and
at
times
difficult
ideas.

 Her
second
idea
was
the
notion
of
the
visitor’s
path
of
desire.
This
expression,
 borrowed
from
the
field
of
urban
planning,
describes
the
individual’s
preferred
use
of
space
in
 relation
to
a
planned
environment.
Mastai
compared
the
visitor’s
path
of
desire
in
the
 exhibition
space
with
the
logic
of
hypertext,
which
expects
the
jumping
from
one
layer
of
 information
to
another,
guided
by
the
visitor’s
curiosity,
aesthetic
response,
identities,
 interests
and
social
setting.
By
linking
the
idea
of
the
institution’s
public
responsibility
with
the
 visitor’s
path
of
desire,
we
observe
the
emergence
of
an
“exhibition
pedagogy”
that
is
 responsive
to
the
demands
of
critical
engagement
with
disciplinary
knowledge
(as
a
form
of
 social
engagement)
and
visitors’
unique
ways
of
manoeuvring
within
the
exhibition
space
and
 making
sense
of
its
content.
 Richard
Sandell:
the
“exclusive”
and
“inclusive”
exhibition
spaces.
 
  British
museum
scholar
Richard
Sandell
clearly
considered
the
poetics
and
politics
of
  exhibitions
(Karp,
et
al.,
1992;
Lidchi,
1997;
R.
Mason,
2005).
The
poetics,
a
descriptive
analysis
 drawn
from
semiotics,
considers
exhibitions
as
systems
of
significations
operating
through
 their
own
internal
logic.
The
politics,
on
the
other
hand,
is
inspired
by
Foucauldian
theories,
 and
concentrates
on
the
interplay
between
knowledge
and
power.
From
this
perspective,
 Sandell
argued
that
a
central
educational
program
for
exhibitions
should
be
the
promotion
of
 social
equity
(Sandell,
2002,
2007;
Sandell
&
Frost,
2010).
He
stressed
that
while
not
able
to
 guarantee
specific
understandings
by
the
visitors,
the
exhibition
team
should,
by
employing
a
 set
of
spatial
strategies
and
visual
cues,
favour
certain
readings
designed
to
counter
social
 inequality.
In
his
essay
“Constructing
and
Communicating
Equality”,
he
established
a
typology
 featuring
the
attributes
of
the
“exclusive”
and
“inclusive”
exhibition
spaces,
insisting
that
the
 spatial
organization
of
objects
in
museums
is
influenced
by
a
specific
set
of
values
and
beliefs
 about
the
worth
of
displayed
cultures
in
relation
to
the
exhibition
makers
and
audience
(2006).
 Sandell
identified
interrelated
modes
of
display
that
act
as
markers
of
differences,
signifying
 exclusion
(exaggeration
of
difference,
exotification
by
means
of
relative
placement
within
the
 museum
building
and/or
the
exhibition
space,
and
the
“marked
absence”
of
particular
groups).
 Sandell
has
recognized
that
while
these
exclusive
tendencies
in
modes
of
representation
are
 19
  
 still
used
in
museums
today,
they
are
increasingly
challenged
by
criticism
and
demands
for
 inclusion
or
“representational
parity”
by
government
policies
and
vocal
community
groups.
 Based
on
existing
exhibition
cases,
he
has
proposed
three
types
of
spatial
strategies
developed
 to
help
museums
achieve
their
socially
driven
educational
goals
(spatial
allocation,
parity
and
 balance,
differentiation
and
integration).
Sandell’s
analysis
has
emphasized
the
subtle
power
of
 the
poetics
of
exhibition
in
assigning
symbolic
meanings
through
physical
placements
of
 objects,
silences
and
omissions.
Sandell
noted
that
these
spatial
strategies
are
the
exhibition
 makers’
intentions
and
not
actual
audience
response,
hence
the
need
to
assess
empirically
 how
visitors’
meaning‐making
is
shaped
differently
by
exclusive
and
inclusive
museographies.
 Jem
Fraser:
the
visitors
and
exhibition
makers
as
performers.
 
  Another
conversation
gravitating
around
the
question
of
social
equity
and
democracy
is
  found
in
the
work
of
Scottish
researcher‐practitioner
Jem
Fraser.
Unlike
Sandell,
however,
 Fraser
has
been
more
concerned
with
the
relationship
between
the
museum
and
its
visitors
 than
with
how
the
representation
of
power
relations
manifests
in
museography.
Central
to
 Jem
Fraser’s
argument
is
that
the
production
of
exhibitions
should
be
inspired
by
critical
 pedagogy
(2007).
Drawing
on
the
work
of
critical
pedagogue
Henry
Giroux
and
post‐colonial
 theorist
Homi
Bhabha,
she
has
focused
her
attention
on
the
potential
for
exhibitions
to
 facilitate
identity
shaping
(confirmation
and
interrogation
of
identities)
in
the
context
of
 coexisting
divergent
histories.
She
proposed
a
framework
conceptualising
the
visitor
 experience
based
on
the
analogy
of
drama,
in
which
the
visitor
and
the
museum
staff
are
 performers
(playing
different
parts)
and
the
exhibition
is
the
production.
The
originality
of
 Fraser’s
TRIP
model
(Transaction,
Ritual,
Identity
and
Power)
lies
in
its
merging
of
several
 museum
discussions
that
have
rarely
been
connected.
Fraser
has
used
socio‐constructivist
 principles
to
make
more
salient
the
visitor’s
ability
to
construct
meaning,
while
employing
a
 post‐structural
theoretical
framework
to
discuss
how
power
relations
are
enacted,
 perpetuated
and
challenged.
The
aim
behind
this
proposed
museum
pedagogy
is
that
the
 exhibition‐as‐performance
becomes
a
motivator
for
social
transformation
and
emancipation
 by
becoming
a
site
simultaneously
accommodating
collaboration
and
contest.
Of
importance
is
 that
the
nature
of
museum
drama
is
largely
based
on
the
exhibition’s
ability
to
connect
with
 dimensions
of
the
visitor’s
identity
to
increase
knowledge
(cognitive,
aesthetic,
experiential).
 20
  
 For
visitors
to
engage,
they
have
to
recognize
themselves
in
the
museum
by
means
of
display
 strategies,
voices,
aesthetic,
language
or
objects.
 
  The
exhibition
as
a
dramatic
production
involving
the
exhibition
makers
and
the
visitors
  as
performers
is
a
compelling
metaphor.
It
suggests
a
built‐in
dialogical,
power‐sharing
 relationship
between
museum
staff,
the
institution
and
visitors.

 Kate
Gregory
and
Andrea
Witcomb:
the
exhibitions
as
possible
worlds.
 
  Australian
museum
researchers‐curators
Kate
Gregory
and
Andrea
Witcomb
(2007)
  investigated
the
role
of
affect
in
the
context
of
the
visitor’s
meaning‐making
experience
in
 historic
sites.
They
introduced
their
research
by
stating
that
traditional
ways
of
producing
and
 disseminating
knowledge
are
inadequate
in
equipping
contemporary
citizens
for
a
world
 “increasingly
defined
by
experiential
and
immersive
technologies”
(p.
21).
They
noted
that
 contemporary
museums
have
the
potential
to
contribute
to
new
performative
models
of
 democratic
engagement,
based
on
the
capacity
of
museum
objects
and
spaces
to
stimulate
 memory
and
sensory
engagement
to
provoke
meaning‐making.
Gregory
and
Witcomb
were
 inspired
by
the
work
of
cognitive
theorists
investigating
the
relationship
between
affect
and
 narrative
as
readers
engage
with
fiction.
They
have
been
particularly
interested
in
the
work
 associating
intellectual
engagement
with
fiction,
and
the
resulting
production
of
“possible
 worlds”
in
which
affect
plays
a
central
role.
The
authors
proposed
that
historic
exhibitions
be
 viewed
as
“possible
worlds”
in
which
affective,
physical
and
imaginative
engagement
facilitate
 historical
understanding
in
historic
sites.
They
insisted
that
a
sense
of
shock
or
surprise
is
 necessary
to
enable
historical
understanding.
This
notion
of
shock
as
a
form
of
confrontation
 between
the
past,
present
and
future
they
described
as
a
“sense
of
historical
differences”.
The
 past
becomes
another
possible
world
rather
than
part
of
a
linear
understanding
of
time.
They
 applied
this
theoretical
framework
to
a
comparative
study
involving
two
historic
sites
located
 in
Australia.
The
analysis
examined
how
these
two
sites,
designed
with
different
intentions,
 stimulated
different
bodily
and
affective
responses,
resulting
in
different
relationships
to
the
 historical
content.
The
older
historic
site
involved
the
reconstitution
of
the
interior
of
an
 historical
home
furnished
to
convey
a
sense
of
authentic
representation
or
time‐travel,
an
 interpretive
approach
typical
of
1970s
heritage
practice.
It
made
visitors
feel
affectively
closer
 to
the
historical
inhabitants
of
the
house.
Yet,
the
inability
to
penetrate
the
cordoned
off
 21
  
 rooms
diminished
the
corporeal
experience,
thus
limiting
the
range
of
emotional
responses
to
 nostalgia.
They
argued
that
the
display
romanticized
the
past,
depicting
an
overly
 uncomplicated,
aseptic
and
flattering
image.
They
attributed
this
aesthetic
to
the
producers’
 intent,
which
largely
consisted
of
educating
and
inspiring
the
public
to
participate
in
heritage
 preservation.
The
site
became
a
theatre
set
designed
to
elicit
positive
memories
about
a
 particular
past.
The
researchers
pointed
out
that
such
a
setting
“works”
with
audiences
sharing
 the
same
cultural
memory.
 The
second
case
consisted
of
a
recently
created
historical
site
that
functioned
 independently
but,
in
reaction
to
the
earlier
interpretive
approach,
made
no
attempt
to
 recreate
the
past.
The
emptiness
of
the
space,
according
to
the
authors,
negated
the
idea
of
 refurbishing.
The
authors
suggested
that
by
eliciting
initial
feelings
of
alienation
and
 disorientation,
this
method
“demand[ed]
a
more
inquisitive
approach
from
the
visitor,
 requiring
them
to
produce
their
own
interpretative
narratives
as
a
means
to
breach
the
gaps
 left
open”
(p.
269).
Multiple
perspectives,
allusion
to
past
users
of
the
building,
and
 soundscape
nevertheless
created
a
complex
picture
of
the
past,
the
intent
being
that
by
 provoking
feelings
of
shock
and
surprise,
a
new
awareness
of
the
past
was
produced
by
 challenging
received
ideas
about
the
past
and
by
communicating
a
sense
of
radical
difference
 from
the
present
moment.
As
a
result,
the
authors
argued,
the
interpretation
countered
 nostalgia.
It
established
the
conditions
for
a
new
rapport
with
historical
events:
clues
were
 given,
and
dark
histories;
the
consequences
of
colonization
in
this
case
were
exposed.
The
 researchers
postulated
that
the
use
of
humour
and
irony
“clearly
alert[ed]
the
visitor
to
the
 constructed
nature
of
all
heritage
sites.
It
warn[ed]
the
visitor
not
to
take
everything
at
face
 value,
to
read
beyond
the
immediately
obvious”
(p.
273).

 
  Gregory
and
Witcomb’s
argument
has
the
merit
of
interweaving
visitors’
cognitive
and
  affective
modes
of
engagement
with
historical
mediation
in
the
museum.
Their
work
proposed
 that
particular
staging
of
the
past
(whether
it
takes
the
form
of
a
reconstitution
or
an
art
 installation)
provokes
different
emotional
responses
that
impact
on
the
historical
 understandings
of
visitors.
They
illustrated
how
exhibition
narratives
(spatial
and
textual)
can
 encourage
an
uncritical
and
inward
consumption
of
the
past,
while
other
more
abstract
forms
 of
staging
the
past
can
project
past
events
into
the
visitor’s
present
and
future.
The
work
of
 Gregory
and
Witcomb,
however,
was
as
much,
if
not
more,
about
the
exhibition
makers’
new
 22
  
 ways
of
conceptualising
historic
spaces
for
a
contemporary
audience
as
it
was
about
the
 audience’s
understanding
of
the
past.
Undoubtedly,
the
researchers’
concerns
were
attuned
to
 emergent
visitors’
behaviours
and
sensitivities,
shaped
by
cultural
hybridity
and
new
 information
technologies.
In
addition,
their
reference
to
the
notion
of
“shock”
as
being
 necessary
for
making
sense
of
messages
countering
normative
values
and
ideas
about
history
 matched
the
conclusions
of
several
scholars
who
conducted
visitor
studies
(Dicks,
2000a;
 Leinhardt
&
Knutson,
2004;
Macdonald,
1998,
2002).
These
studies
based
on
empirical
data
 insisted
that
challenging
cultural
assumptions
of
visitors
cannot
be
done
in
subtle
 museographic
terms.
However,
Gregory
and
Witcomb’s
discussion
of
visitors’
historical
 understanding
was
entirely
based
on
the
researchers’
use
of
findings
in
the
fields
of
human
 psychology
and
cognition
(and
their
own
reading
of
the
exhibitions),
rather
than
on
actual
 visitor
experiences.
Despite
this
shortcoming,
their
work
remains
a
rare
attempt
to
frame
and
 locate
the
visitor
(physically,
affectively,
cognitively,
culturally)
in
relation
to
historical
 exhibitions.

 Bella
Dicks
and
Laurajane
Smith:
the
re‐conceptualisation
of
heritage.
 
  The
terms
“history”
and
“heritage”
in
museum
literature
often
coexist.
The
relationship
  between
the
two
is
complex
and
contested.
They
oppose
each
other,
are
used
 interchangeably,
or
act
in
a
complementary
fashion.
Whereas
history
tends
to
be
viewed
as
 the
product
of
a
rigorous
inquiry
about
the
past,
based
on
the
study
of
evidence,
heritage
 tends
to
be
associated
with
a
more
explicitly
political
and
emotional
process
of
relating
to
the
 past
(Divall,
2003;
Gable,
2006;
Graham,
Ashworth,
&
Tunbridge,
2000;
Hems,
2006;
Hodgins,
 2004;
Huyssen,
2003;
Létourneau,
2005;
Lowenthal,
1996,
1998;
Lumley,
2005/1994;
Urry,
 2004).
Bella
Dicks
(2000)
and
Laurajane
Smith
(2006)
have
studied
the
work
of
the
makers
and
 visitors
of
historic
sites,
historic
homes
and
history
museums
without
insisting
on
a
clear
 division
between
history
and
heritage.
In
neither
case
does
“heritage”
exclude
a
critical
 examination
of
the
past
by
the
public.
The
authors’
insistence
on
using
the
term
heritage
 comes
from
a
desire
to
signal
the
identity
formation/construction
aspect
associated,
more
 often
than
not,
with
the
act
of
looking
at
the
past.
 
  
  23
  
 Bella
Dicks.
 
  Scottish
museum
scholar
Bella
Dicks
has
demonstrated
the
usefulness
of
Stuart
Hall’s
  theory
on
the
communication
of
encoding
or
decoding
for
analysing
the
work
of
exhibition
 makers
and
visitors
at
a
heritage
site
(2000a,
2000b).
In
a
visitor
study
taking
place
in
Rhondda
 Park,
a
heritage
site
in
Scotland
commemorating
the
history
of
its
mining
industry,
Dicks
 adopted
a
social
model
of
communication
that
was
attentive
to
the
site’s
political,
economic
 and
cultural
contexts,
and
its
practice
of
production
and
consumption.
This
theoretical
 framework
acted
as
a
counter‐argument
to
critical
theoretical
discussions
on
heritage,
which
 she
argued
“are
often
informed
by
an
underlying
and
unexamined
‘effects
model’
of
 communication
in
which
heritage
texts
are
assumed
to
inculcate
a
particular
understanding
of
 the
past”
(2000,
p.
63).
Because
these
discussions
assigned
to
visitors
the
role
of
being
passive
 recipients
of
exhibition
messages,
she
suggested
that
they
utterly
failed
to
examine
how
 meaning
produced
through
the
creation
of
exhibitions
is
negotiated
and
consumed
by
visitors.
 Dicks’
study
also
recognized
the
importance
of
a
“vernacular
aesthetic”
and
aimed
to
 understand
the
significance
of
a
collective
interest
in
heritage,
and
the
manifestation
of
this
 interest
at
the
visitor
level.
 
  Dicks’
ethnographic
case
study
investigated
both
the
producers
and
the
consumers
of
  the
heritage
site.
The
data
analysis
examined
the
“encoding
phase”,
with
a
rich
description
of
 conditions
that
characterized
the
development
of
the
heritage
site.
It
discussed,
for
instance,
 the
political
struggles
that
influenced
the
constitution
of
the
exhibition
team,
the
research,
and
 the
context
of
cultural
policy
in
the
UK.
The
study
also
related
how
these
negotiations
affected
 the
design
solutions.
The
“decoding
phase”
of
the
communication
involved
data
generated
 through
semi‐structured
interviews
with
20
groups
of
visitors
(45
individuals).
These
interviews
 included
a
brief
pre‐visit
meeting
in
which
participants
talked
about
what
they
knew
about
the
 history
of
the
site,
and
a
longer
interview
immediately
after
the
visit.
In
their
post‐visit
 interviews,
visitors
were
asked
to
recount
what
they
had
seen
and
heard.
They
were
also
asked
 to
describe
how
they
would
characterize
the
site
and
who
lived
there,
and
the
history
of
the
 area.
Dicks
identified
common
themes
in
visitor
narratives
as
“preferred
readings”.
She
 established
commonalities
and
differences
between
museum
staff
and
visitors
(encoding
and
 decoding
commonalities
and
discrepancies)
and
addressed
the
nature
of
these
discrepancies.
 She
discussed
historical
distance
(without
using
the
term)
by
defining
the
relationship
visitors
 24
  
 had
with
the
historical
actors.
She
explained,
for
example,
how
most
visitors
related
to
the
 historical
agents
as
“other”—that
is,
as
individuals
removed
both
temporally
and
culturally
 from
their
own
lives.
However,
she
recognized
a
substantial
number
of
visitors
whose
reading
 of
the
site
brought
historical
actors
into
relations
of
equivalence
in
their
own
lives.
The
visitor
 responses
indicated
a
wide
range
of
perceptions
about
history’s
relevance
to
their
lives.
Dicks’
 conclusion
made
no
claim
to
generalization,
but
the
results
demonstrated
the
diversity
and
 richness
of
visitor
responses.
The
study
acted
as
a
powerful
counterpoint
to
the
influential
 work
of
sociologists
Bourdieu
and
Darbel
(1991/1969)
by
demonstrating
that
there
is
no
direct
 equivalence
between
production
and
reception,
and
that
it
cannot
be
assumed
that
a
 vernacular
aesthetic
is
simply
appropriated
by
dominant
regimes
of
meaning.
“There
is
no
 single
preferred
reading
that
reflects
a
hegemonic
worldview
and
which
is
passed
directly
from
 text
to
reader”
(Dicks,
2000,
p.
74).
Dicks’
analysis
demonstrated
that
visitors
do
not
 necessarily
come
away
from
historic
sites
with
a
romantic
view
of
the
past,
as
many
heritage
 critics
assume.
This
use
of
a
case
study
with
a
small
sample
was
effective
in
challenging
 particular
assumptions
made
by
cultural
sociologists,
in
that
it
highlighted
the
agency
and
 resourcefulness
of
both
museum
professionals
and
visitors
in
crafting
narratives
 Laurajane
Smith.
 Laurajane
Smith’s
Uses
of
Heritage
has
called
for
a
reconsideration
of
what
constitutes
 heritage
(2006).
She
defined
heritage
as
“a
culturally
directed
process
of
intense
emotional
 power
[that
is]
both
a
personal
and
social
act
of
making
sense
of,
and
understanding,
the
past
 and
the
present”
(p.
304).
Smith
described
heritage
as
an
“inherently
political
and
discordant”
 practice
that
enacts
the
cultural
values
and
power
relations
of
the
present.
Individuals
and
 different
interest
groups
use
heritage
for
a
range
of
purposes
and
with
varying
degrees
of
 authenticity
and
authority.
The
way
people,
communities
and
nations
care
about,
define,
and
 select
elements
of
the
past
to
define
a
collective
in
contemporary
time
says
more
about
the
 present
than
the
past,
more
about
the
interpreter
than
the
interpreted.
In
other
words,
how
 we
want
to
remember
says
a
lot
about
who
we
are.

 
  By
drawing
on
cultural
studies
theory,
Smith
demonstrated
how
certain
uses
of
  heritage
have
historically
been
and
continue
to
be
intimately
connected
to
power
relations.
 Powerful/dominant
groups
have
been
successful
at
imposing
their
views
of
what
is
and
is
not
 25
  
 heritage
and
what
qualifies
as
the
nation’s
official
story.
She
called
this
legitimizing
process
the
 “Authorized
Heritage
Discourse”
(AHD).
AHD,
she
explained,
“takes
its
cue
from
the
grand
 narratives
of
Western
national
and
elite
class
experiences,
and
reinforces
the
idea
of
innate
 cultural
value
tied
to
time
depth,
monumentality,
expert
knowledge
and
aesthetics”
(p.
299).
 She
identified
the
various
conventions,
charters,
recommendations
and
other
texts
enacted
by
 UNESCO,
through
ICOMOS,9
as
authorising
institutions
of
heritage
who
play
a
key
role
in
 maintaining
the
authority
of
heritage
discourses.
The
AHD
discourse
promotes
the
idea
that
 heritage
is
about
a
common
national
inheritance
and
lineage.
It
also
tends
to
favour
one
 manifestation
of
heritage
over
many
forms
of
expressions,
through
monuments
and
other
 material
assets.
She
explained
how
the
1980s
heritage
critics
mistook
AHD
for
heritage
itself,
 and
in
the
process
dismissed
other
heritage
practices.

 
  To
build
her
argument,
Smith
relied
on
an
extensive
multi‐site
visitor
study
undertaken
  in
country
houses,
archaeological
landscape
sites
in
Australia,
as
well
as
industrial
social
history
 museums
and
community
events
in
the
UK.
Analysing
each
heritage
site
provided
in‐depth
 contextual
information
to
situate
the
conditions
of
production
and
reception.
Her
analysis
 revealed
that
the
effect
of
AHD
was
more
predominant
in
historic
homes
recounting
the
story
 of
a
ruling
class
than
at
sites
emphasizing
the
agency
of
the
working
class.
Similar
to
Dicks,
 Smith
insisted
that
heritage
should
be
viewed
as
a
cultural
process
rather
than
as
“things”.
 Heritage,
she
advanced,
is
found
in
the
process
of
individuals
and
groups
taking
position
in
 relation
to
sites,
buildings,
events
and
histories.
“It
is
the
utility
of
a
place
or
artefact
in
 invoking,
signifying
or
otherwise
connecting
with
people’s
wider
social
experiences,
memories
 and
knowledge
that
is
important
and
what
determines
if
it
becomes
used
as
a
place
or
object
 of
heritage,
rather
than
any
innate
quality”
(p.
305).
 
  Smith’s
visitor
studies
demonstrated
that
in
engaging
with
heritage,
people
are
  constructing
a
sense
of
their
own
identities
that
may
oppose,
correspond
to
or
simply
remain
 outside
of
the
terms
of
the
AHD.
Smith
stressed
that
this
positioning
is
complex
and
involves
 rememb