‘Aimless and Absurd Wanderings’? Children at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona)

Adrian Franklin, Michelle Sansom



This article reports on the experience of children at the Museum of New and Old Art (Mona) in Hobart, Tasmania.  Referred to by its innovative owner as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’, Mona went further than most new contemporary art galleries in designing a radically new experience of art.  It captured the imagination of people new to art in its own locality as well as a global art public.  Favoured by leading international contemporary artists for the freedom it gave art unmediated by art history, Mona also seemingly captured the imagination of children. Through an ethnographic approach in which five young children’s visits were documented in great detail, the article considers these in the light of children’s experiences of previous exhibitionary platforms and the relevance of Mona’s museological interventions for building their dispositions to art and broadening art publics.


Children, art museums, art publics, , ethnography, museology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v16i1.2679

Copyright (c) 2018 Adrian Franklin

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Museum and Society

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