The Tools Tell the Story': Towards an Analysis of the Museum Experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the experiential dimensions of museum going as a cultural practice in a way that accommodates the shifting balance and tension between the museum’s informational function and knowledge claims and its ritual function of concretizing and enshrining core cultural meanings and values. It argues that a proper understanding of the “structure of experience” museum encounters are designed to promote requires a recognition of the implicit cultural code that regulates curators’ and museum guides’ collecting, display, and interpretation practices on the one hand, and visitors’ expectations on the other. The elucidation of this code must perforce touch upon more general issues of epistemology, pedagogy, and cultural authority. Museum going today is an integral part of touristic endeavors, whether in the form of school excursions, or family and other group outings. The dictum that “the tools tell the story” encapsulates central features of the museum’s claims to knowledge and knowledge cultivation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiteracy in the Information Age: Current Perspectives. Information and Behavior
EditorsKubey Robert William
PublisherTransaction Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9781351292924
ISBN (Print) 9781560002383
StatePublished - 1997


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