UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

On display : a localized study of exhibitions of antiquities from the Mediterranean and Egypt Grady, Gillian Leigh


The museum world is constantly facing new challenges about how to utilize its collections in order to engage visitors and tap into new audiences. The antiquities of the ancient Mediterranean and Egypt have consistently been on display in various exhibitions and museums in the United States. Using the city of Philadelphia as a geographical locus, this paper will examine the success and shortcomings of various styles of exhibition. Using new museum theory from Janet Marstine and the concept of the social life of things by Arjun Appadurai, this paper examines the exhibits, the motivation behind them, and their relative success. The blockbuster-style exhibit can be financially beneficial but may compromise museum missions, while more traditional style exhibits lack the ability to interact with new and large audiences but are often the site of technological innovation. Museums must engage various styles of exhibition to remain stable and viable as cultural institutions.

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