Archive for the ‘City History Exhibitions’ Category

Museum of London via Londonist

The Museum of London just launched an IPhone app that allows users to pull up geo-tagged photos and paintings all over the city, similar to the Sydney Powerhouse Museum project I described a few weeks ago.

There are a few more images of StreetMuseum available at Londonist to give you a sense of how it might work. The launch of StreetMuseum is part of the fanfare for the Museum of London’s new Galleries of Modern London, a £20 million undertaking that opens May 28. Museum of London is considered to be one of the leaders in the city museum field, so I am very interested to check out this new project when I travel to London in July. In the meantime, here’s an early review from the Times.

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There’s a new collection of essays about city museums that just came out in paperback: City Museums and City Development, ed. by Ian Jones, Robert R. Macdonald, and Darryl McIntyre (AltaMira Press, 2010). In the coming weeks I intend to blog about several of these essays. Let’s start today with a statement made by Chet Orloff in “Museums of Cities and the Future of Cities.” Orloff is a professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University in Oregon, and from 1991-2001 was the director of the Oregon Historical Society. In his essay he writes:

The nineteenth century was, broadly speaking, the century of the history and the natural history museum, an era of exploration and a fitting time for the growth and popularity of ‘cabinets of curiosities.’ The twentieth century was very much the century of the art museum, a time of building deep collections and great buildings, with far-ranging advances in the visual arts. The twenty-first century—when cities will be, even more, the places where people live and where so much will happen—ought to be the moment of the city museum. (p.27)


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It will come as no surprise that I’ve visited a lot of city museums lately, both in the US and in Europe. Patterns are emerging. Today I want to discuss one in particular: the permanent city history exhibition. Almost every city museum has one, and they are remarkably similar. They are almost always chronological in nature, starting with prehistory and native communities, and winding up somewhere around 2000. The following topics are covered, more or less in the following order: (more…)

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