Collecting the Contemporary: A Handbook for Social History Museums is a major new publication which addresses one of the most fundamental issues facing today’s history museums: why and how to engage with contemporary collecting? In a format which is approachable, attractive - and above all actionable, this new book is packed with stimulating thinking and international case studies from some of the leading practitioners and thinkers in the field.
Many museums collect contemporary objects, stories, images and sounds. But reasoned policies and procedures are very often lacking. And – given the uniquely detailed record of contemporary life recorded by today's ubiquitous media – how best are museums to record and present contemporary life in their collections?
This overview of contemporary collecting in a social historical context is well overdue. Original source material, ideas, developments and research have never before been brought together in a single volume. This book brings together practitioners from around the world to provide a contemporary and convenient reader which aims to lay the foundations for future initiatives.
Collecting the Contemporary will help you answer these key questions... and much more besides:
1. How best should we engage with contemporary collecting?
2. Should we collect to fill gaps in the existing collection?
3. How best to record modern urban life?
4. How might we best engage with minority communities?
5. Should we aim to link past and present?
Also available: Contemporary Collecting: Theory and Practice
This groundbreaking, 628-page book, with 80 colour illustrations, includes:
Owain Rhys is Head of Engagement and Volunteering at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the author of Contemporary Collecting: Theory and Practice.
Zelda Baveystock was the first Keeper of Contemporary Collecting at Tyne & Wear Museums, subsequently played a significant role in the launch of the Museum of Liverpool and has taught Arts Management & Museum Studies at the University of Manchester.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS BOOK! Distilling an enormous measure of wisdom from professional collectors internationally, its essays seamlessly blend the theory and practice of collecting, and case studies illuminate the rationale behind real-life acquisition decisions. Curators of special collections should absolutely take note, but any reader interested in the why and how of collecting objects—or indeed of collecting anything — will find much of value in this book.
Collection Management, 2015, 40:1.
This lively and provocative new volume offers valuable new insights for anyone interested in how history museums can remain engaged, vital and relevant to diverse constituencies in the 21st century.
Prof. Richard Sandell, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Contemporary collecting is a creative, polemical, and even subversive process as well as a documentary one. This groundbreaking book explores both the dark and the light in the best of current practice.
David Anderson, Director General, National Museums Wales
Contemporary collecting today is the social history collection of tomorrow. This is an engaging and timely exploration of contemporary collecting’s past; discussing the challenges and revealing potential new directions for the future.
Michelle Lees, Chair, Social History Curators’ Group
A much-needed volume, rich in ideas, perspectives and methodologies. Useful both as a handbook, and as inspirational food for thought.
Dr Eva Fägerborg, COMCOL – International Committee for Collecting (ICOM)
The book captures the extraordinarily complex and thought-provoking decisions that go on at grassroots around contemporary collecting; but also illuminates the wider theoretical, strategic and political debates in which these decisions sit. The book’s international scope adds to its strength. Today’s curators will find stimulus and encouragement in the pages. Future historians will find a fascinating account of professionals responding creatively and humanely to a rapidly changing world. I enjoyed this a lot.
Dr. Cathy Ross, Honorary Research Fellow, Museum of London
An excellent analysis of the range of issues thrown up by contemporary collecting practices, relevant to practitioners and museum scholars. Essential reading for those wishing to develop a reflective curatorial practice that engages with contemporary social issues.
Professor Andrea Witcomb, Director, Cultural Heritage Research Centre for Asia and the Pacific, Deakin University, Australia
Fascinating and educative, the editors bring together a compendium of UK and international contributions that throw light not only on the challenges of contemporary social history collecting but on many of the broader issues of museology over the last 30 years, particularly in terms of curatorial practice and community engagement. Both scholarly and a page-turner, the book will repay reading for anyone in the museum business.
Iain Watson, Director, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Title: Collecting the Contemporary: A Handbook for Social History Museums
Colour illustrations: 80
Size: 203 x 127 mm
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