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Accepted Paper:

Constructed, commemorated and contested narratives and histories: the modern museum and digital access  
Devorah Romanek (Maxwell Museum of Anthropology)

Paper long abstract:

Museums have increasingly become sites of cultural transmission and identity work, where narratives and histories are constructed, commemorated and contested. It has been theorised that museums have been places of forgetting through acts of institutionalised remembrance, but through social, political and technological changes, museums have become institutions of nascent re-remembering. These political, social and technological changes (e.g. repatriation, digitisation and dissemination of collections, expanding/global audiences, etc.) have forced museums to undergo radical changes in practice, from how they use their collections, to who is invited to participate in programming their spaces. Comparing practices in two countries (the USA and the UK), and focusing on the impact of digitisation, this paper analyses the difference between the rhetoric versus the reality of such change in museum practice, as well as considering what these changes might mean to communities with the greatest vested interests, and how such communities adopt creative strategies for engaging with museums in light of shifts in museum practice.

Panel W071
Experience, witnessing, spectacle: performance and commemoration in the new museum
  Session 1