The Exhibition Of Architecture And The Architecture Of An Exhibition Literature Review Sample
Bernbeck’s article attempts to analyze the problems facing museums in the modern age by looking at the sources of these problems from three distinct perspectives. These are the historical context of the museum, visitor’s remarks and experiences and views expressed by the museum staff. The article focuses on the Pergamon Museum located in Berlin as the subject of study as the writer is familiar with it from his childhood days.
One of the problems facing museums is the fact that some are considered old or represent changed ideologies and yet the museums themselves do not exhibit any noticeable change in their collection or arrangement patterns to accommodate these external changes. The Pergamon museum was designed by an architect known as Mussel in 1907 as a place to preserve the large Pergamon altar excavated by Humann, an architect. Additionally, neighboring countries such as France and England had established museums in their major cities such as the Louvre and the British Museum. Such kind of establishments were considered as signs or symbols of political power. Germany, having recently been unified through Prussian leadership, sought to follow this path too with the Emperor himself feeling the need for the museum.
The construction of the building lasted twenty years due to differences between two government officials responsible for it. It was also closed nine years after opening due to the Second World War. The Nazis preserved much of the museum’s collection but the Red Army was able to take some few items that were returned at the tenth anniversary of the German Democratic Republic. There were some changes that took place after 1951 such as the opening of the main entrance located in the Middle wing and the subsequent closure of the side entrance from the southern wing. Medieval German collections were replaced by a collection of coins and vases.
This history proves that there were no major changes in the Pergamon museum despite the various regimes that were in power during the first 30 years of its existence. First reason for this is because the museum housed large artifacts such as the Pergamon altar which could not be easily relocated or rearranged without large amounts of resources. Secondly, the exhibitions lacked comments or other information and as such allowed viewers to interpret in their own ways without drawing criticism. The third reason was the persistence of German cultural norms throughout the years.
The Pergamon Museum adopts a ‘purist’ approach by eliminating any external objects such as films and audio recordings that can help the visitors understand displayed objects. It allows visitors to form their own interpretations based on what they know from history. This is one factor that contributes to the dullness of the museum since these external objects also act as entertainment sources aside from serving educational purposes. However, this situation can be explained by the lack of secure public funding for the museum which means that it does not have the capacity to invest in such techniques in a bid to attract more visitors.
In recent times, the museum has adopted some aspects of the pragmatic approach by introducing audio guides and four-page information sheets on displayed objects in a room. It also has a café. For the museum to succeed, it must adopt the new marketing strategies of modern museums. The museum never provided additional information on objects because visitors at the time were the elite who had leant the German history. However, in today’s market, very few people know history and as such, it is important to explain it to them and make them have fun while doing so. This mass marketing strategy is the best future for the Pergamon Museum.
This article raises the issue of the future of museums with the changing human lifestyles brought about by technological advancements. According to the Museum Association (2005), there are several visions of the future that current museums will thrive. First, future museums should create an environment where the public awareness of museums is increased and people can engage with them to get what they need from them. This will be achieved by promoting the learning of history to attract more people to visit museums.
Another strategy is to form a centralized funding council that would be responsible for providing secure funding to museums nationwide in a more efficient way. With financial support secured, museums should then work on improving their own visitor experiences based on what they [museums] have to offer. For example, the Pergamon museum can use this funding to provide additional information on its collection by introducing videos and audios on computers that talk more about certain objects. The money can also be used to create children entertainment spots in the museum for children to have fun after a long visit through the museum halls and corridors.
Additionally, so as to prevent a scenario where certain museums do well and others appear to have failed such as the Pergamon, museums should have a widely-shared attitude that is dynamic in nature about ways to deal with collections and how to attract and keep audience through creation and capturing of important knowledge that will be shared among museums. This will ensure that all museums grow at a relatively similar rate.
“Understanding the Future: Museums and the 21st Century Life-The Value of Museums.” Museums Association, Jul. 2005. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.