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NEW BOOK by Anna Woodham on “unloved” museum collections

We’re pleased to announce that CMCI lecturer Dr Anna Woodham’s new edited book has just been published: Exploring Emotion, Care and Enthusiasm in “Unloved” Museum Collections. Edited with Dr Rianedd Smith and Dr Alison Hess, the book focuses on the millions of items that are held in museum collections around the world but which are not currently or never will be put on display. These stored objects are certainly not neglected by their professional custodians, and they are loved with a great intensity by some curators and enthusiasts. However, for all but a tiny proportion of the population they have little or no personal meaning. The book goes beyond strategic discussions of access to museum stores, information enhancement, or collections rationalization and focuses on the emotional potential of these objects. The authors explore how “care” for objects has varied over time and consider who cares for objects that are generally considered to be unsuitable for display and why they care. The authors also consider how inter-generational and inter-disciplinary dialogue can enhance or engender engagement with “unloved” collections and offer strategies and reflection on interpreting stored collections.

This book will be essential reading for scholars, students, and professionals in museums, especially those concerned with curation and collections. The volume contains contributions from both academics and museum practitioners including Dr Sheila Watson, Dr Alexandra Woodall and Mark Carnall (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) among others.


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