Happenings at The World’s Premier Museum of The History of Medicine

Posted: May 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

We’ll discuss this topic later in the semester, time permitting. It’s a favorite of mine.

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Comments
  1. Katherine Worms says:

    I remember talking about this in 2108! Along the lines of this, what I’ve always been interested in is who decides what is kept in museums and how these decisions influence how certain cultures, societies, ideas, etc. are perceived. In my paleobiology class last semester, on a field trip we went and looked at some pictographs and petroglyphs. We discussed what these meant and who drew them, but I thought my professor had a unique idea of their creation. These drawings were found in a desert with little water, wildlife, and it would be difficult to grow crops. Needless to say, the lives of these people must have been pretty difficult and the majority of their time must have been spent hunting and gathering food. Because of this, my professor theorized that the pictures were drawn by the people in society who couldn’t help hunt or gather. Either children, people who were sick, or my personal favorite: the “town fools” haha. So back to my original point, I think when developing museums, it’s important to preserve an accurate picture of the story that is trying to be told. Sometimes, like with ancient artifacts, all we have to preserve are small pieces of the whole story, but other times, it’s because of the people developing the museum that the story is told from a narrow point of view. This may be due to certain biases or just how they define what the museum is for. What is classified as art to some would not be to others. I think I’ve gotten lost in my own ramblings at this point, but I mainly just wanted to say I think it’s important to take into account who created the museum when you’re looking at its contents.

    • Others have asked your same question, Who gets to decide what to display and how to display it? As a result of this, new disciplines have arisen in the last few decades. These include Museum Studies and Curatorial Studies. In these fields, one studies not so much the objects in a museum, but rather the museum itself. Or, one studies the various cultural values and social practices which determine the ordering of objects. We’ll actually try to get deeper into this subject later in the semester, though I already fear we will run out of time. The summer is already slipping away.

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