Friday, December 30, 2011

Museums Matter

My copy of James Cuno's Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum (University of Chicago Press, 2011) has arrived. There are four main chapters covering the Enlightenment, Discursive, Cosmopolitan and Imperial Museums.

A browse suggests that Cuno has chosen to sidestep one of the most pressing issues for so-called encyclopedic museums in North America, Europe and Japan: the acquisition of newly surfaced antiquities. The "Medici Conspiracy" has brought about the return of some 130 antiquities to Italy from North American collections. How have these high profile encylopedic museums damaged the reputation of museums in general?

I look forward to reading Museums Matter and to reflect on this telling title.

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2 comments:

kyri said...

david,you talk about encyclopedic museums as if they are a bad thing.sure some of them,in their eagerness to build up a collection, have made some mistakes but overall i am a big fan of the encyclopedic museum.
cuno is writing a book in praise of encyclopedic museums and on what they have to offer,not on the ethics of their acquisition policies.im sure you have read his other books where he coverd these issues and you know where he stands on them.
look at the bm,it is a great advert for the success of the encyclopedic museum and for me the best museum in the world.
kyri.

kyri said...

also david,you say some "130 pieces have been returnd",yes i agree,one looted piece,is one to many but lets get some perspective hear,the bm alone has six million pieces in its collection.
kyri.

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