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Once Upon an Object: Deep Collection Lessons in Material Relationships.

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Title:Once Upon an Object: Deep Collection Lessons in Material Relationships.
Authors:Pykare, Shelby C.
Contributors:Pacific Islands Studies (department)
deep collections
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Museums house many things. Some of these are highly visible while others are rarely seen. Over the last years, a great deal of curatorial and theoretical attention in museums studies has been directed towards the representation, contextualization, and reframing of regularly displayed objects. This changing collections period has included consideration of increased community access to the presentation and meaning-making surrounding objects. However, there are entire classes of objects that are rarely visible and never move from behind the scenes. Many of these objects have received scant scholarly treatment and have not been touched by source communities who lack access to museums’ deep storage collections. This thesis emerges from the context of a new Oceania, where community relations are highly prioritized and are a site of intense and passionate action and scholarly focus. It also emerges in a new museum age, where museums are struggling to become more self-reflexive as the cultural center model gains popularity. This work seeks to understand the place of shadowy and purportedly “secondary” tier objects in museum collections, and how three of the region’s most significant museums are working with their deep collections, and with both source and service communities. This thesis asks: how are Oceanic communities becoming aware of deep collections and engaging with them? How are museum specialists, with limited resources, working to bring deep collections into community engagement? What roles are deep collections and their individual objects playing in this new museum and new Oceania moment in the space between communities, curators, and museums as central cultural institutions. This thesis documents that though new practices of community engagement are emerging within the regions’ museums, they remain at the exhibitionary level and rarely reach the deep collections. This thesis argues that a shift in practices will have real implications for museums, objects, and communities.
Description:M.A. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Pacific Islands Studies

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