South Pacific Museums: Experiments in Culture

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Chris Healy, Andrea Witcomb
Monash University ePress, 2006 - Art - 232 pages
South Pacific Museums: Experiments in Culture is a collection of outstanding analyses of museums in the South Pacific, written by cultural, museum and architectural critics, and historians. A series of snapshots introduce the reader to key museums in the region and longer essays explore these museums in broad terms. Over the last 50 years, museums have been regarded by many scholars and cultural critics as archaic institutions far from the cutting edge of cultural innovation. This judgement is being proved wrong across the globe, with innovative museums staking out new territory. Nowhere is this more striking than in the South Pacific where new and redeveloped institutions have included the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of Australia, the Melbourne Museum, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Museum of Sydney, the Gab Titui Cultural Centre in the Torres Strait, the Auckland Museum, the Centre Culturel Tjibaou and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. South Pacific Museums make sense of these museums as part of the complex field of heritage, where national economies meet global tourism, cities brand themselves, and indigeneity articulates with colonialism. The effect is one of cultural experimentation. Part One, 'New Museums', introduces three different museums in distinctive national contexts â?? Te Papa, the Centre Culturel Tjibaou and the National Museum of Australia. Essays in this part grapple with the role of these museums in the nation at particular historical moments under specific political pressures. Part Two, 'New Knowledges', documents practices and exhibitions at the point of tension between indigenous and non-indigenous interests in the museum. Part three, 'New Experiences', explores the ways in which museums in the South Pacific are producing that ineffable cultural phenomenon â?? experience.

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About the author (2006)

Chris Healy teaches cultural studies at the University of Melbourne. His publications include Beasts of Suburbia (co-editor, Melbourne University Press, 1994), From the Ruins of Colonialism (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Cultural Studies Review (co-editor, 200206). Andrea Witcomb is an associate professor in the Faculty of Arts at Deakin University. She is the editor of Open Museum Journal and the author of Re-imagining the Museum: Beyond the Mausoleum (Routledge, 2003).ContributorsTony Bennett Open UniversityLeilani Bin-Juda Torres Strait Regional AuthorityLissant Bolton British MuseumDeidre Brown University of AucklandPamie Fung The University of MelbourneRoss Gibson University of Technology, SydneyKate Gregory Fremantle Prison (a heritage listed convict establishment)Chris Healy The University of MelbourneDiane Losche University of New South WalesJohn Macarthur The University of QueenslandIan McShane Swinburne University of TechnologyKylie Message Australian National UniversityNatalia Radywyl The University of MelbourneElizabeth Rankin University of AucklandMoira G. Simpson Flinders UniversityHuhana Smith The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa TongarewaNaomi Stead University of Technology, SydneyMarianne Tissandier Musée de Nouvelle-CalédonieMathew Trinca National Museum of AustraliaIan Wedde freelance writer and curator, WellingtonKirsten Wehner National Museum of AustraliaPaul Williams New York UniversitySara Wills The University of MelbourneAndrea Witcomb Deakin UniversityLinda Young Deakin University

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