Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Multivocal museums

Museums have been changing for a long time. These days, people in the trade even talk of "the paradigm shift": from broadcasting information to the public, to interacting with it and making room for other voices. The idea now is to let the people treated in the exhibitions or otherwise concerned, e.g. indigenous people, share the stage. This "multivocality" is good up to a point, but the openness must be limited. Otherwise, it would lead to extreme relativism.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the multivocal approach would open public museum exhibits on for example genocide and natural history to accommodate the views of neo-nazi revisionists and creationists. This thankfully isn't happening. So multivocality is not such a big deal after all: political correctness rules the museums.

I published an essay in Swedish on this subject in Folkvett 2005:3, and it's also available here.

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