Aleshia Westgate (Bailey): Archaeology of Medieval Europe MA student sitting right in the middle of medieval archaeology and museum studies. Searching for post-processualism in exhibitions, yearning for the display of the multi-temporal character of time, and seeking out object biography and object agency.
This blog is all about my search for archaeological and museological theory in museum display, mainly because there’s really not a lot of it about.
Stephanie Moser has summed up the reasons why this is such an interesting area:
‘Too often, academics make the mistake of thinking that displays are simply designed for popular consumption and that they are somehow irrelevant to the ‘real business’ of learning about a subject. Worse still is the notion that the evaluation of museum displays and how they communicate ideas is a common sense exercise not requiring any specific theoretical or methodological skills.’ (Moser, Representing archaeological knowledge in museums, Public Archaeology, 2001, Vol 3: 3-20)
My dissertation looked at the recent resurgence in popularity of the Viking Age and seeks to identify the driving factors behind the change in display of this period. Museum display of Viking Age material culture used to focus on the sword and bloodied warrior. Now you’re more likely to see beyond the sword, and see the other members of this complex past culture.
Update: I’ve recently handed in my dissertation, received a grade of 80 for it (yay!), moved back to Canberra, Australia and am on the hunt for work in a museum.
You can contact me or see what else I’m up to on the following: