Museumchronotopics: on the representation of the past in museums

Pascal Gielen


Many visitor studies make social background variables the central point of departure to explain participation patterns. How the past is ‘staged’, however, also has an influence on those to whom it appeals. This relational perspective calls for new conceptual tools to grasp empirical reality. Inspired by the historical philosophy of Georg Simmel and the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin a number of concepts which enable us to grasp the subtle relationship between museum presentations and visitors are presented. Bakhtin’s notion of chronotopy serves as a key concept. By linking museum presentations and visitor perceptions with each other, it is also possible to identify certain tendencies within the contemporary museum landscape.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Pascal Gielen

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360