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Understanding Use: Objects in Museums of Science and Technology (Artefacts 13)

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posted on 2024-03-20, 18:14 authored by Tim Boon, Elizabeth HainesElizabeth Haines, Arnaud Dubois, Klaus Staubermann

Understanding Use proposes a way of thinking and of developing practice around four varieties of use of objects in science and technology museums: first, the ways that machines, instruments, and equipment were used in their pre-museum “lives” (which provides the most frequent reason for their acquisition); second, the ways in which research can re-create usage history of obsolete objects; third, the ways that museum staff have employed objects in their “museum lives” as members of collections; and last, the possibility of reconceptualizing museum visitors as users of collections and displays. Thinking of museum objects in these ways—that is, in terms of use—could constitute a coherent approach to museum work that enriches the wider purpose of science and technology museums.



  • Open Monographs
  • Proceedings and Edited Collections

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Artefacts 13

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Smithsonian Institution; National Museum of American History; European Commission, under HORIZON 2020 Research and Development Programme;


Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press