Thursday, December 6, 2007

Open Collections: Quai de Branley, Paris - by Maureen

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The photo "Open Collections: Quai de Branley, Paris" shows an example of a display which is after the fashion of, but not quite, an open collection.

The photo shows a collection of musical instruments in the Musée Quai de Branley in Paris. It is an open collection in so far as a large number of objects are made available to the visitor library-style (in stacks with extensive information attached). Proponents of the "open collection" argue that the museum, like a library, should serve as a resource to visitors which promotes and supports active exploration and interpretation on the part of the individual visitor.

The open collection is one way in which to conteract the dominant trend in today's museums towards the theme park, window shop and box office hit. As in many contemporary public spaces, more and more frequently the museum visitor assumes -- and is encouraged to assume -- the role of passive consumer. They consume information and trinkets (displays, interpretations, experiences and gift shop souvenirs) which other people have constructed for the sole purpose of their consumption.

Although some museum professionals exploit the passive consumerism of their visitors, others -- such as the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum -- are disturbed by it and encourage active and conscious visitor involvement.

To take a virtual tour of LETM

1 comment:

Christian Creutz said...

Chère Maureen,
Je viens juste de le remarquer : c'est "quai Branly", pas "quai de Branley". Branley prend un sens particulier en français ! Demande à Jean...
Désolé d'être aussi trivial.
Chaleureusement,
Christian