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An Investigation of the key factors and processes that underlie the contemporary display of biological collections in British museums.

Paddon, H. L., 2009. An Investigation of the key factors and processes that underlie the contemporary display of biological collections in British museums. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), museums are experiencing a longawaited redisplay renaissance in the early 21 st century. The thesis, prompted by the observed renaissance, explores and examines the factors and processes involved in the redevelopment of biological displays in British museums. Using a qualitative, grounded theory methodology and analytic process, the research focuses on three case study museums; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Informed by preliminary research, the main study employs the semi-structured interview method to collect primary data from key project team members. To triangulate findings from the interviews, and develop an overarching theory, complementary primary and secondary data was also collected in the form of project reports, meeting minutes, photographs, etc. The findings demonstrate that 'accepting change' in the museum is key to the redisplay of biological collections. The single most important change in these redevelopments has been the approach to the redisplay process; namely the shift from the curator-driven model to the team approach. This has, singlehandedly, transformed the key elements of the process; decision-making and communication, whilst introducing the important element, teamwork. By applying a team approach, powers of decision making are shared across team members and work progresses more rapidly. It also ensures that the final gallery incorporates the educational, design, conservation and curatorial aspects. The driving factors were also uncovered in the course of the research. Categorised as internal and external factors, some were more influential than others; the collections and project team members (internal) and the audience and funders (external) proved particularly influential in early stages of the three projects. The findings from this research contribute to the limited museological research into contemporary biological redisplays. It debates the shifting paradigms and new display processes in British museums, but future research could develop the grounded theory to investigate and test gallery redisplays worldwide.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bournemouth University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:15214
Deposited On:15 Jun 2010 10:41
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:02


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