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Casino and Museum
Representing Mashantucket Pequot Identity
John J. Bodinger de Uriarte
University of Arizona Press, 2007
The past twenty-five years have seen enormous changes in Native America. One of the most profound expressions of change has been within the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The Nation has overcome significant hurdles to establish itself as a potent cultural and economic force highlighted by the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center and Foxwoods, the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere. In Casino and Museum, John J. Bodinger de Uriarte sees these two main commercial structures of the reservation as mutually supporting industries generating both material and symbolic capital.

To some degree, both institutions offer Native representations yet create different strategies for attracting and engaging visitors. While the casino is crucial as an economic generator, the museum has an important role as the space for authentic Mashantucket Pequot images and narratives. The book’s focus is on how the casino and the museum successfully deploy different strategies to take control of the tribe’s identity, image, and cultural agency.

Photographs in the book provide a view of Mashantucket, allowing the reader to study the spaces of the book’s central arguments. They are a key methodology of the project and offer a non-textual opportunity to navigate the sites as well as one finely focused way to work through the representation and formation of the Native American photographic subject—the powerful popular imagining of Native Americans. Casino and Museum presents a unique understanding of the prodigious role that representation plays in the contemporary poetics and politics of Native America. It is essential reading for scholars of Native American studies, museum studies, cultural studies, and photography.

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Conscience and Memory
Meditations in a Museum of the Holocaust
Harold Kaplan
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Prompted by the suicides of Jean Amery and Primo Levi, Harold Kaplan sought to ask what the Holocaust can be said to affirm even even in the face of its overwhelming negation of meaning. "I wrote this book," he explains, "to translate the Holocaust out of the moral and intellectual shock which contemplates the alienation of humanity from itself. I wished to understand the 'crime against humanity' as a viable category of the moral reason. And I wished to respond to the written testimony of Holocaust victims and survivors as if the issue of their survival were present to us today."

Kaplan simulates the response to a long visit to the new Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., which, crucially for Kaplan, is sited in direct view of the Jefferson and Lincoln monuments, powerful symbols of humanist democracy. He insists the Holocaust be viewed not only in terms of personal ethics but modern political ethics as well: for Kaplan the affirmative legacy of the Holocaust is its focus on the dangers of nationalism, racism, and all forms of separatist group identities. It challenges the historicism, cults of power, and scientistic politics of modernity. And it challenges the moral passivity and relativism of mass politics in Western and Eastern societies.

The opening of the Holocaust museum has sparked a debate that reflects a larger debate over the Holocaust's "meaning," its translatability for ordinary understanding. Some deny any possible response except that of overwhelming grief and horror. For others, the "lesson" of the Holocaust implies, in the words of Robert Nozick, that "mankind has fallen. . . . Humanity has lost its claim to continue." The moral life and political institutions will remain endlessly tormented by the Holocaust. That, Kaplan tells us, is the ultimate content of its "meaning," and is what makes the discussion of "meaning" much more than a mourner's symposium.

The Museum itself, according to Kaplan, has become an impressive memorial to the principle of humanism, instructing the collective memory of this democracy and that of nations everywhere which aspire to civil existence. Out of its awful darkness the Holocaust throws the light of conscience for those capable of receiving it.

front cover of Contributions from the Museum of Geology, University of Michigan
Contributions from the Museum of Geology, University of Michigan
Volume II
Edited by Eugene S. McCartney
University of Michigan Press, 1928
This volume features a collection of papers originally published between July 10, 1924, and August 3, 1927, and edited by Eugene S. McCartney. Most, but not all, of the contributors were members of the faculties or graduates of the University of Michigan who published on their findings while examining fossils and rock formations. Many of the articles discuss findings from the state of Michigan, including “Occurrence of the Collingwood Formation in Michigan.”

front cover of Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan
Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan
Volume III
Edited by Eugene S. McCartney
University of Michigan Press, 1932
This continuation of Contributions from the Museum of Geology features a collection of papers originally published between November 10, 1928, and April 9, 1932, and edited by Eugene S. McCartney. Most, but not all, of the contributors were members of the faculties or graduates of the University of Michigan who published on their findings while examining fossils and fossilized remains. Many of the articles discuss findings from the state of Michigan.

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Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan
Volume V
Edited by Eugene S. McCartney
University of Michigan Press, 1939
This continuation of Contributions from the Museum of Geology features a collection of papers originally published between July 31, 1936, and July 1, 1939, and edited by Eugene S. McCartney. Most, but not all, of the contributors were members of the faculties or graduates of the University of Michigan who published on their findings while examining fossils and fossilized remains. Many of the articles discuss findings from the state of Michigan.

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Decolonizing German and European History at the Museum
Katrin Sieg
University of Michigan Press, 2021

Decolonizing German and European History at the Museum examines efforts by European museums to investigate colonialism as part of an unprocessed past, confront its presence, and urge repair. A flurry of exhibitions and the overhaul of numerous large museums in the last decade signal that an emergent colonial memory culture is now reaching broader publics. Exhibitions pose the question of what Europeans owe to those they colonized.

Decolonizing German and European History at the Museum shows how museums can help visitors mourn historic violence and identify the contemporary agents, beneficiaries, victims, survivors, and resisters of colonial presence. At the same time, the book treats the museum as part of the racialized power relations that activists, academics, and artists have long protested against. This book asks whether museums have made the dream of activists, academics, and artists to build equitable futures more acceptable and more durable—or whether in packaging that dream for general audiences they curtail it. Confronting colonial violence, this book argues, pushes Europeans to face the histories of racism and urges them to envision antiracism at the global scale.


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Grand Designs
Labor, Empire, and the Museum in Victorian Culture
Lara Kriegel
Duke University Press, 2007
With this richly illustrated history of industrial design reform in nineteenth-century Britain, Lara Kriegel demonstrates that preoccupations with trade, labor, and manufacture lay at the heart of debates about cultural institutions during the Victorian era. Through aesthetic reform, Victorians sought to redress the inferiority of British crafts in comparison to those made on the continent and in the colonies. Declaring a crisis of design and workmanship among the British laboring classes, reformers pioneered schools of design, copyright protections, and spectacular displays of industrial and imperial wares, most notably the Great Exhibition of 1851. Their efforts culminated with the establishment of the South Kensington Museum, predecessor to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which stands today as home to the world’s foremost collection of the decorative and applied arts. Kriegel’s identification of the significant links between markets and museums, and between economics and aesthetics, amounts to a rethinking of Victorian cultural formation.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, including museum guidebooks, design manuals, illustrated newspapers, pattern books, and government reports, Kriegel brings to life the many Victorians who claimed a stake in aesthetic reform during the middle years of the nineteenth century. The aspiring artists who attended the Government School of Design, the embattled provincial printers who sought a strengthened industrial copyright, the exhibition-going millions who visited the Crystal Palace, the lower-middle-class consumers who learned new principles of taste in metropolitan museums, and the working men of London who critiqued the city’s art and design collections—all are cast by Kriegel as leading cultural actors of their day. Grand Designs shows how these Victorians vied to upend aesthetic hierarchies in an imperial age and, in the process, to refashion London’s public culture.


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Installation Art and the Museum
Presentation and Conservation of Changing Artworks
Vivian van Saaze
Amsterdam University Press, 2013
Installation art has become mainstream in artistic practices. However, acquiring and displaying such artworks means that curators and conservators are challenged to deal with obsolete technologies, ephemeral materials, and other issues concerning care and management of these artworks. By analyzing three in-depth case studies, the author sheds new light on the key concepts of traditional conservation—authenticity, artist’s intention, and the notion of ownership—while exploring how these concepts apply in contemporary art conservation.  

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Irina Nakhova
Museum on the Edge
Jane A. Sharp
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Throughout her extensive career, Russian conceptual artist Irina Nakhova has frequently pushed the limits of what constitutes art and how we experience the art museum. One of her famous early pieces, for instance, transformed a room in her very own Moscow apartment into an art installation.
Released in conjunction with Nakhova’s first museum retrospective exhibition in the United States, this book includes many full-color illustrations of her work, spanning the entirety of her forty-year career and demonstrating her facility with a variety of media. It also includes essays by a variety of world-renowned curators and art historians, each cataloging Nakhova’s artistic innovations and exploring how she deals with themes of everyday life, memory, viewer engagement, and moral responsibility. It concludes with a new interview with Nakhova herself, giving new insight into her creative process and artistic goals. Irina Nakhova: Museum on the Edge provides a vivid look at the work of a visionary artist. Published in partnership with the Zimmerli Museum.

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The Museum as Experience
Learning, Connection, and Shared Space
Susan Shifrin
Arc Humanities Press, 2024
Museums have long been viewed as exclusive, excluding, and as antiseptic to intimacy. In the past few decades, however, humanized experiences—cultivated by curators, educators, artists, activists, and marketers alike—have emerged as the reason for being for these cornerstones of community. Such experiences are often possible only in museum settings, where cultural exploration, probing conversation, and safe risk-taking can occur in spaces now becoming sacred through inclusiveness. This book brings together an interdisciplinary collection of essays examining the kinds of human experiences and interactions that have converted the once-sterile museum into a space of enlivenment and enrichment, as well as physical and emotional well-being. The essays focus for the first time on the uniquely human and humanizing experiences to be found in the collections, programs, exhibitions, and spaces of today’s museums.

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The Museum in the Cultural Sciences
Collecting, Displaying, and Interpreting Material Culture in the Twentieth Century
Edited by Peter N. Miller
Bard Graduate Center, 2021
In early twentieth-century Berlin, Wilhelm von Bode sparked a controversy with his sweeping proposal to reorganize a group of the city’s museums. Debates about the role and structure of museums played out in 1907 and 1910 with two striking series of articles that appeared in the journal Museumskunde: Journal for the Administration and Technology of Public and Private Collections. The first was a six-part essay by Otto Lauffer on history museums, and the second was a ten-part piece by Oswald Richter regarding ethnographic museums. Together, they initiated a century of significant dialogue.

The Museum in the Cultural Sciences offers the first full English translations of these articles, which remain influential in conversations about the implications of art, historical, and ethnographic museums. They show how sophisticated the discussion of museums and museum display was in the early twentieth century and how much could be gained from revisiting these reflections today. Accompanied by short commentaries from museum professionals, these articles offer an intervention into and intensification of the current debate about the function and purpose of museums.

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A Centennial History
Walter Muir Whitehill
Harvard University Press, 1970

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Museum of the Weird
Amelia Gray
University of Alabama Press, 2010

Winner of FC2’s American Book Review/Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize

A stunning collection of stories that reveal wondrous play and surreal humor

A monogrammed cube appears in your town. Your landlord cheats you out of first place in the annual Christmas decorating contest. You need to learn how to love and care for your mate—a paring knife. These situations and more reveal the wondrous play and surreal humor that make up the stories in Amelia Gray’s stunning collection of stories: Museum of the Weird.

Acerbic wit and luminous prose mark these shorts, while sickness and death lurk amidst the humor. Characters find their footing in these bizarre scenarios and manage to fall into redemption and rebirth. Museum of the Weird invites you into its hallways, then beguiles, bewitches, and reveals a writer who has discovered a manner of storytelling all her own.




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Museum of Words
The Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery
James A. W. Heffernan
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Ekphrasis is the art of describing works of art, the verbal representation of visual representation. Profoundly ambivalent, ekphrastic poetry celebrates the power of the silent image even as it tries to circumscribe that power with the authority of the word. Over the ages its practitioners have created a museum of words about real and imaginary paintings and sculptures.

In the first book ever to explore this museum, James Heffernan argues that ekphrasis stages a battle for mastery between the image and the word. Moving from the epics of Homer, Virgil, and Dante to contemporary American poetry, this book treats the history of struggle between rival systems of representation. Readable and well illustrated, this study of how poets have represented painting and sculpture is a major contribution to our understanding of the relation between the arts.

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The Museum on the Roof of the World
Art, Politics, and the Representation of Tibet
Clare E. Harris
University of Chicago Press, 2012
For millions of people around the world, Tibet is a domain of undisturbed tradition, the Dalai Lama a spiritual guide. By contrast, the Tibet Museum opened in Lhasa by the Chinese in 1999 was designed to reclassify Tibetan objects as cultural relics and the Dalai Lama as obsolete. Suggesting that both these views are suspect, Clare E. Harris argues in The Museum on the Roof of the World that for the past one hundred and fifty years, British and Chinese collectors and curators have tried to convert Tibet itself into a museum, an image some Tibetans have begun to contest. This book is a powerful account of the museums created by, for, or on behalf of Tibetans and the nationalist agendas that have played out in them.
Harris begins with the British public’s first encounter with Tibetan culture in 1854. She then examines the role of imperial collectors and photographers in representations of the region and visits competing museums of Tibet in India and Lhasa. Drawing on fieldwork in Tibetan communities, she also documents the activities of contemporary Tibetan artists as they try to displace the utopian visions of their country prevalent in the West, as well as the negative assessments of their heritage common in China. Illustrated with many previously unpublished images, this book addresses the pressing question of who has the right to represent Tibet in museums and beyond.

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Opening the Museum
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Rubie Watson
Harvard University Press
With Opening the Museum, the Peabody Museum Press launches a new series of Occasional Papers. These periodic publications present essays, short research papers, and works-in-progress relevant to contemporary museum issues and museum history. In Volume I, Peabody Museum director Rubie Watson presents three snapshots in time of the museum and its changing nature: in 1877, 1928, and 2001. The oldest museum of anthropology in the Americas, the Peabody is dedicated to collecting, researching, housing, displaying, and interpreting the artifacts and material culture of societies around the world. Its history, as ably interpreted by Wilson, has reflected the changing nature not only of museums but of the study of anthropology over time.

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