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‘Socioexhibitry’ as popular communication

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Abstract:

In a scenario of destabilizing conditions influenced by modern media developments and funding problems, how do museums keep their place as a vehicle in expressing and projecting concepts and attitudes about culture and social values? Attracting new audiences and broadening the visitor base is the single response to this question. In systematically analysing the communication process, the author identifies the exhibition as the channel in the museum’s communication function, and its interpretation technique, the crucial factor in ensuring accurate audience understanding. In his opinion, for a museum to continue its mission of public service in reinforcing individual and communal identity, it should aim, through effective methods of interpretation and transfer of information, at becoming a connection between the community’s life experience and its intellectual and spiritual growth. ‘It is not enough to “build” better exhibitions and expect people to come,’ he says, ‘it is necessary to have exhibitions that people understand ... and then they will come.’ Gary Edson is executive director of the Museum of Texas Tech University, director and professor of Museum Science, Museum of Texas Tech University. He is also a member of ICOM’s Ethics Committee. The subject of communication in museums has been the a central issue in his research and professional career.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0033.00324

Affiliations: Museum of Texas Tech University

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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