Reconsidering the Public Purpose of Museums
2014 - 184 pages
ISBN Paperback: 9789462096301 ($ 43.00)
Beyond Pedagogy: Reconsidering the public purpose of museums explores issues standing at the intersection of public pedagogy, memory, and critical theory, focusing on the explicit and implicit educational imperative of art, natural history, and indigenous museums, cultural centers, memorial sites, heritage houses, and other cultural heritage sites that comprise the milieu of educating, learning, and knowing. Taken together, the various essays comprising this book demonstrate that a more nuanced examination of the role of cultural heritage institutions as pedagogical sites requires a critical gaze to understand the function of the authority and ways through which such institutions educate. Beyond Pedagogy also makes a vital point about the complexity of such institutions and the need to comprehend how pedagogy emerges not only as an end result of the museum’s educational purpose but also in relation to the historically defined mandates that increasingly come to question the distinction between the knowledge we know and how we come to know it. As such, this volume expands our understandings of the ways in which pedagogy operates in the contexts of museums and heritage sites and the forms of knowledge, knowing, and being it conjures, celebrates, obscures, and/or silences in the process of producing among museum visitors particular notions of identity, subjectivity and voice, ones that, more often than not, reify rather than challenge traditional conceptualizations of the nation and its past, present, and future.