Museums, Objects, and Collections
A Cultural Study
By Susan Pearce
(Smithsonian Books, Paperback, 9781560983309, 312pp.)
Publication Date: October 17, 1993
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This book examines the historical context of museums, their collections, and the objects that form them. Susan M. Pearce probes the psychological and social reasons that people collect and identifies three modes of collecting: collecting as souvenirs, as fetishes, and as systematic assemblages. She considers how museum professionals set policies of collection management; acquire, study, and exhibit objects; and make meaning of the objects in their care. Pearce also explores the ideological relationship between museums and their collections and the intellectual and social relationships of museums to the public.
Susan M. Pearce is professor of museum studies and director of the department of museum studies at the University of Leicester. She is the editor of Museum Studies in Material Culture (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), and the author of Archaeological Curatorship (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990) and On Collecting (1995).
“Dense and rewarding. Through this study the author intends to explore the philosophies and cultural traditions which underlie museums, their collections, and the objects which make them up, and to see how meaning is created amongst them.”—Arlis-Newssheet
“Profoundly rewarding . . . [Museums, Objects, and Collections] offers one of the most extensive and penetrating analyses of museums you are likely to find anywhere.”—Curator