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Museum Gallery Interpretation and Material Culture publishes the proceedings of the first annual Sackler Centre for Arts Education conference at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The conference launched the annual series by addressing the question of how gallery interpretation design and management can help museum visitors learn about art and material culture. The book features a range of papers by leading academics, museum learning professionals, graduate researchers and curators from Europe, the USA and Canada.
The papers present diverse new research and practice in the field, and open up debate about the role, design and process of exhibition interpretation in museums, art galleries and historic sites. The authors represent both academics and practitioners, and are affiliated with high quality institutions of broad geographical scope. The result is a strong, consistent representation of current thinking across the theory, methodology and practice of interpretation design for learning in museums.
This anthology debates the definition, meaning, and role of "interpretation" in museums, and whether it is a discipline, department, or practice. Many of the essays considered the primacy and limitation of education vs. interpretation, and questioned whether these were the same or closely related practices, and which was most relevant to museums now? Other essays concentrated on the efficacy of labels, the role of language, and the usefulness of object-centered approaches. Still other essays examined audience, and asked who is it in museums that is in responsible for interpretation?