In a series of richly detailed case studies from Britian, Australia and North America, Tony Bennett investigates how nineteenth- and twentieth-century museums, fairs and exhibitions have organized their collections, and their visitors.
Discussing the historical development of museums alongside that of the fair and the international exhibition, Bennett sheds new light upon the relationship between modern forms of official and popular culture.
Using Foucaltian perspectives The Birth of the Museum explores how the public museum should be understood not just as a place of instruction, but as a reformatory of manners in which a wide range of regulated social routines and performances take place.
This invigorating study enriches and challenges the understanding of the museum, and places it at the centre of modern relations between culture and government. For students of museum, cultural and sociology studies, this will be an asset to their reading list.
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Tony Bennett is Professor of Cultural Studies and Founding Director of the Institute for Cultural Policy Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Griffith University, Australia.
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