Reminds me of the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford. Jam packed with goodies.
There's a new style in some museums. A great example of the new style is the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in Vancouver, BC, which I visited today. It's a return to the cornucopia of former times, when exhibits were packed to the edges with diversity. For a while museums went to the other extreme, picking and highlighting a few key specimens, with great labels and explanation, and archiving the rest. The new style, as seen in the MOA, is to flaunt the abundance of material, and show off the incredible diversity and range of items. This included feature drawers below the glass cabinets which visitors can pull out for EVEN MORE stuff. Sometimes, its good to be minimal, but I really like the "more" style when it comes to collections.
That takes me back. I had Cultural Anthropology classes at the museum in the early 70s. Arthur Erickson was a great architect. All the same, what are called collections appeared then to be the loot and booty of other cultures around the world but particularly the west coast of BC. The totem poles and Bill Reid's sculpture are the best parts of the museum.
Yes, as Fiona Munday says, as far as I know the Pitt Rivers in Oxford has always been like this and it's a wonderful experience. I'm glad if this is a new trend. Because some things require a bit of space when displayed, large paintings for example, but little and more common items like ancient tools and whatnot don't really need that art-gallery style breathing space. Just rack them up and let us look at them all.
I live for museums. But I'm always wondering if the really cool stuff has, like you mentioned, archived and forgotten. Id give anything to spend a week combing the archives of the Smithsonian museums in DC.
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