Museums and the Past

Constructing Historical Consciousness

Edited by Viviane Gosselin and Phaedra Livingstone

  • Published: Paperback February 2017
  • Subject Listing: History / Canadian History; Education
  • Bibliographic information: 312 pp., 16 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Museums and the Past explores the central role of museums as memory keepers and makers. Using case studies from a Canadian context, the contributors to this collection reflect on the challenges in maintaining and developing museums as meaningful places of memory and learning. Discussions of museum practice and historical consciousness - how our understanding of the past shapes our sense of the future - consider the modern museum's narratives and pedagogical responsibilities and how museums continue to inform our sense of history.
Viviane Gosselin is curator of contemporary culture at the Museum of Vancouver and associate researcher at the UBC Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness. Phaedra Livingstone is a museologist who has worked in, taught about, and conducted research on museums and heritage settings internationally since 1990. Contributors: Susan Ashley, Jill Baird, Jennifer Carter, Pierre-Luc Collin, Claire Cousson, Lucie Daignault, Lon Dubinsky, Damara Jacobs-Morris, Robert R. Janes, Simon Knell, Marie-Claude Larouche, Lianne McTavish, Del Muise, Laurajane Smith, and Brenda Trofanenko

"This well-curated collection of essays broadens our understanding of the theory of historical consciousness and the role museums can play in engaging, and challenging, collective memory."
-Donald G. Wetherell, Professor Emeritus, Heritage Resources Management, Athabasca University
1. Introduction: Perspectives on Museums and Historical Consciousness in Canada / Viviane Gosselin and Phaedra Livingstone

Part 1: Programming Historical Consciousness
2. The Royal Ontario Museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Critical Public Engagement / Susan Ashley
3. The Voices of the Canoe Project: Weaving Together Indigenous and Western Historical Knowledge Traditions / Jill Baird and Damara Jacobs-Morris
4. The Torrington Gopher Hole Museum: A Model Institution / Lianne McTavish
5. Public Pedagogy and the Museum: The Canadian Museum of Immigration at 21, for Example / Brenda Trofanenko

Part 2: Measuring Historical Consciousness
6. Changing Views? Emotional Intelligence, Registers of Engagement, and the Museum Visit / Laurajane Smith
7. Using Museum Resources and Mobile Technologies to Develop Teens' Historical Thinking: Formative Evaluation of an Innovative Educational Set-up / Marie-Claude Larouche
8. Museums as In-Between Institutions: Can They Be Trusted? / Lon Dubinsky and Del Muise
9. The Concept of Historical Consciousness Applied to Museums: A Case Study of the Exhibition People of Québec . . . Then and Now / Pierre-Luc Collin, Claire Cousson, and Lucie Daignault

Part 3: Instrumentalizing Historical Consciousness
10. Controversy as Catalyst: Administrative Framing, Public Perception, and the Late-Twentieth-Century Exhibitionary Complex in Canada / Phaedra Livingstone
11. The Gift of Historical Consciousness: Museums, Art, and Poverty / Simon Knell
12. Museums and the Responsibility Gap / Robert R. Janes
13. Out of the Box and Into the Fold: Museums, Human Rights, and Changing Pedagogical Practices / Jennifer Carter
14. Epilogue: The Blossoming of Canadian Museology and Historical Consciousness / Phaedra Livingstone and Viviane Gosselin