Professor of Museum Studies takes key role at Tokyo conference
Held in Tokyo on Saturday, December 8, with a pre-meeting with the JMMA on Friday, December 7 to discuss the issues of museums and communication, the conference was attended by over 200 delegates. Some delegates came from companies that work with museums, others were curators, and some were academics teaching museum studies at an undergraduate level (for which in Japan there are many courses and modules available).
"In the last ten years museums have become very much more interested in their role as communicators", she informed the delegates. "Where the focus of much of the work of museums in the past was on matters to do with acquisitions, collection management, conservation and storage, today the potential of the museum as a medium for communication and learning has become much more important."
"Today, museums are developing a view of themselves as communicators, and are beginning to reflect on the approach to communication that they use. The formal, authoritative and didactic style of the traditional museum is now seen as a not very effective way to communicate with repeat visitors, and as entirely inappropriate where new audiences need to be encouraged to visit for the first time.
"A more friendly, companionable and informal approach to communication that acknowledges the interests and prior knowledge of visitors is beginning to emerge.
"Communication and learning theory can help museums to analyse and appraise their existing practice and can suggest a conceptual framework on which to base new ways of making and sustaining relationships with their actual and potential audiences."
Hooper-Greenhill's presentation introduced two ways of understanding communication, links communication theory to learning theory, and
presented examples of museum exhibitions that illustrate a formal, didactic style of communication and an informal and friendly style of communication.
Nobuhiro Takahashi (pictured above, left of table, leaning forward), Director of the Institute of Cultural Environments, spent four days showing Professor Hooper-Greenhill (pictured above, right of table, centre) round Tokyo, visiting national and local authority museums and also a range of different Japanese restaurants, where different styles of eating and of drinking saki were explained and demonstrated. She was also very pleased to meet former departmental students again over dinner.
Professor Hooper-Greenhill is Director of the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries. She has since received warm thanks for her contribution to this very successful conference.
Last updated: 3 January 2003 12:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall
Created by: Barbara Whiteman
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