The Museum Of Anthropology And The Smithsonian Museum

1394 Words Dec 14th, 2014 6 Pages
Try, if you would, to recall your last visit to a museum or other similar institution. Did you immediately accept the information presented to you as fact? Did you stop to think about how a particular exhibit represents a culture and whether or not it was accurate? Since their origin, museums were created for the purpose of preservation and interpretation of the material culture they exhibit, and have been the most widely accepted method for the dissemination of information pertaining to other cultures. That being said, there is an increasing amount of discourse today questioning the value of museums and the ways in which their exhibition of material culture actually serves to devalue or misrepresent their cultures of origin. For this research paper, I have decided to focus in the collections of material culture present in the Beloit College Logan Museum of Anthropology and the Smithsonian Museum. First, I begin by sharing what I have learned about the history surrounding the origins of museums. Next, I identify the ways in which museums obscure and misrepresent the cultures they display through their exhibits either intentionally or otherwise. Finally, I attempt to utilize what I have learned in order to compare the two institutions and identify the ways in which they have taken steps to keep up with modern museological and discourse.
To begin, preservation and interpretation, the concepts that form the basis of museums, originates from the human inclination to acquire…

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