A critical review of the emergent field that I term ‘museum geography’. The proofs are on their way. I will post a link when it is published. This paper comes from work I completed during my doctorate on the culture of enthusiasm at the Science Museum in London. This paper acts as a review of the field, drawing together museological and geographical literatures. The empirical material I gathered will feature in a second paper on ‘object love’ and curatorial enthusiasm.However, here are some juicy bits from my Geography Compass paper:
In the UK there are more than 2,500 museums. Despite their prevalence, the geographic study of museums is relatively under-developed. This review article is intended as a contribution towards an emerging ‘museum geography’. Beginning with an exploration of research on museums, collections and museum practice, the author then considers the recent ‘spatial turn’ in museum studies and discusses how geographers have variously encountered museums, collections and museum practice to date. The paper then reviews the potential for the future study of museums by geographers. In so doing, the author suggests that the study of museums offers some exciting opportunities for geographical research and teaching.
In sum, the museum remains a complex institution and a ‘valuable vehicle for the critique of contemporary culture’ (Message 2006a, 605). Museums and collections offer geographers exciting sites and subjects for research and teaching. This paper has highlighted the wide range of debates surrounding museums as poetic and highly politicised sites. Moreover, it has begun to map the expanse of as yet unexplored museum territory, marking that it is now time to consider museum geography more closely.