IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 901: Issues in Contemporary Museology: What is a Museum, and What Does It Do? - A Round Table Discussion

Tuesday 10 July 2007, 19.30-20.30

Organiser:Susanne Sara Thomas, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Cayey
Moderator/Chair:Susanne Sara Thomas, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Cayey

The institution of the Museum exists in a tension between its role as a preserver and displayer of artefacts, and the need to create a context for these artefacts. Because of the growing emphasis on creating an interpretive context, the Museum has evolved from being defined by its role as a storehouse and gallery, into an Interpretive Centre. The contemporary museum strives to create a context in which the visitor can ‘read’ its objects, and thereby provides a specific kind of interpretive model. On the other hand, the traditional museum, following the model of the art gallery, provides a protective and un-distracting environment in which to view its artefacts, but in doing so, may turn them into unreadable ciphers. This session will start with a presentation on ‘Preserving Artefacts, Creating Context: Discovering Beowulf in Roskilde’s Viking Ship Museum’. Following this, members of the audience are invited to contribute ideas on the issues raised. Members of all fields of medieval studies are welcome.
Participants include Keith Merrin (Bede’s World, Jarrow) and Robert C. Woosnam-Savage (The Royal Armouries, Leeds).