Unpacking the Collection

Unpacking the Collection Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum - One World Archaeology


Paperback (01 Jan 2012)

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Museum collections are often perceived as static entities hidden away in storerooms or trapped behind glass cases. By focusing on the dynamic histories of museum collections, new research reveals their pivotal role in shaping a wide range of social relations.  Over time and across space the interactions between these artefacts and  the people and institutions who made, traded, collected, researched and exhibited them have generated complex networks of material and social agency.


In this innovative volume, the contributors draw on a broad range of source materials to explore the cross-cultural interactions which have created museum collections. These case studies contribute significantly to the development of new theoretical frameworks to examine broader questions of materiality, agency, and identity in the past and present.


Grounded in case studies from individual objects and museum collections from North America, Europe, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, this truly international volume juxtaposes historical, geographical, and cross-cultural studies.


This work will be of great interest to archaeologists and anthropologists studying material culture, as well as researchers in museum studies and cultural heritage management.

Book information

ISBN: 9781461429173
Publisher: Springer New York
Imprint: Springer
Pub date:
Edition: 2011
DEWEY: 069.5
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: viii, 342
Weight: 544g
Height: 234mm
Width: 159mm
Spine width: 21mm