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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making the new museology work Hise, Beth

Abstract

Australian museums, encouraged to promote the value of cultural diversity by Australian government mulitculturalism policies and the many critics calling for change in museums, are re evaluating many of their cultural programs and introducing new initiatives. They are implementing community participation schemes, improving access to their collections and programs and becoming more responsive to the needs, demands and desires of their constituencies. But are these new programs and changes in museums really meeting the lofty objectives of fostering equality and promoting the benefits of diversity? This thesis will analyse the impact and potential long-term effects of community-oriented museum programs and access strategies by focusing on the interaction between policy and practice in exhibition development at the Australian Museum, a large museum in Sydney devoted to the natural environment and cultural heritage of Australia. A case study of two cultural exhibitions and their development reveals the problematic nature of museum and “community” relationships and the wide gulf that exists between exhibition objectives and their final outcome.

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