This book is the first in 30 years to take transport museums seriously as vehicles for the making of public histories. Drawing upon many years' experience of visiting and working in transport museums around the world, the authors argue that the sector's historical roots are more complex than is usually thought. Written from a multidisciplinary perspective but firmly rooted in the practice of making public histories, this book brings the study of transport museums firmly into the mainstream of academic and professional debate.>
This exciting new series recognizes the tremendous potential of museum-based histories and the ways in which they can engage people with ideas about the past. People encounter and use museums on many different levels - personal, social and intellectual - and access meanings that best fit their agendas. Histories in museums can stimulate the imagination, provoke discussion and increase our ability to question what we know. From this it can be deduced that history in museums is as much about the present as it is about the past; as much about how we feel as about what we know; as much about who we are as about who we have been. The first volume in the series, Making Histories in Museums, examines museological features, but deals particularly with the historiographical issues that have previously been underplayed. Each contributor looks at theoretical frameworks within a specific field of study, using case studies and comparisons of practice. Good practice is highlighted and potential ways forward explored. The book establishes the themes that will be the subject of more detailed study in later volumes. This series will prove an invaluable resource for all those concerned with or interested in museums - museum professionals, museum students, historians and students of history, as well as the general reader.
Narrating Objects, Collecting Stories is a wide-ranging collection of essays exploring the stories that can be told by and about objects and those who choose to collect them. Examining objects and collecting in different historical, social and institutional contexts, an international, interdisciplinary group of authors consider the meanings and values with which objects are imputed and the processes and implications of collecting. This includes considering the entanglement of objects and collectors in webs of social relations, value and change, object biographies and the sometimes conflicting stories that things come to represent, and the strategies used to reconstruct and retell the narratives of objects. The book includes considerations of individual and groups of objects, such as domestic interiors, novelty tea-pots, Scottish stone monuments, African ironworking, a postcolonial painting and memorials to those killed on the roads in Australia. It also contains chapters dealing with particular collectors – including Charles Bell and Beatrix Potter – and representational techniques.
In this book historians from museums and academia examine transport artefacts and the systems of mobility in which they are embedded. Large artefacts -- such as the Stephensons' Rocket locomotive, a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, a Ford Model T -- are impressive manifestations of engineering ingenuity. They help museum visitors understand the design and use of the technologies that move people and goods. But they are also historical icons, so different audiences -- be they professional historians of technology or casual visitors -- will interpret them in different ways. In a transport exhibition individual artefacts can dominate a visitor's attention, overwhelming the themes expressed by other material. The power of such an artefact helps to attract interest, but at the same time endangers its incorporation into a larger system. Curators have to find ways to demonstrate the systemic nature of transport by integrating these objects with others: the smaller component artefacts, such as electrochemical batteries, pneumatic tyres and dashboards; and the social artefacts, such as drivers, consumers, rules and institutions. The authors consider a variety of transport artefacts, from pioneering steam locomotives and early automobile interiors, to jet engines and the automatically guided cars of the future. Those with curatorial responsibilities also reflect on how theoretical notions about transport can be expressed in the practical context of a museum, and how a reappraisal of visitors' responses to transport artefacts is leading to new ways of showcasing the history of mobility.
The essays that comprise this festschrift reflect the belief held by Jack Simmons that Britain's railways affected all aspects of civilised life from engineering and travel to the visual impact the railways had on the whole environment.