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Mining the Museum: An Installation

4.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  15 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
While it has become increasingly commonplace to speak of how history books omit the stories of people of color, rarely is the discussion broad enough to examine how these same omissions are replicated in institutions outside the academy. One such institution is the museum, particularly the history museum, which, much like a history book, is popularly perceived as a reposit ...more
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published February 28th 1994 by New Pr (first published February 1994)
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Izetta Autumn
Dec 15, 2010 Izetta Autumn rated it it was amazing

Fred Wilson's Mining the Museum is a seminal text about museums, the objects they hold, and the history they either hide or elucidate. Wilson selects pieces from the Maryland Historical Society and re-frames them to elicit fuller meanings. He discovers pieces in the Historical Society's collection that have gone previously unused. For instance, he centers a 19th Century wooden whipping post among a set of ornate dining room chairs. He places quotes about duck hunting season among quote
Having heard about this installation in museum circles for a few years, I tracked the book down at the library & was blown away by the images & essays. Fred Wilson used visceral, emotional juxtapositions of objects not usually found in museum collections (ex: rusty shackles placed among finely wrought silver vessels, beautiful carved chairs next to a whipping post & a KKK hood in a baby carriage) to elicit responses and question museums as neutral arbiters of history. I was left stun ...more
I wish I had seen this installation. Wilson's work in the museum field is enlighhtening. Recontextualizing and juxtaposing of a collection so old and rich in "old history" gave new meaning and a new audience to the objects of the Maryland historical Society. The book starts with a great array of photographs and documentation of the installation. It follows with a thorough listing of events in the art world which analyzed and /or criticized the culture of museums in America - all of which combine ...more
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