Museum Frictions:
Public Cultures/Global Transformations
useums and other display and coll
institutions are surprisingly protean o
zations. They have different and often
tiple mandates and complex and cont
tory goals. They experience conflicting demands made on them from a
of interested parties, including funders, audiences, government officials
fessional communities, collectors, and peoples who are represented in th
seum displays. In addition, there are other cultural and display instit
to which museums are inevitably connected and related. Wherever th
found and whatever their specific histories, museums are defined—and
themselves—in relation to othercultural, civic, and communityorganiza
whether they be art galleries, schools, fiestas, fairs, expositions, depar
stores, or theme parks. Over the years museums have also increasingly
themselves in fruitful and frustrating conversations and interactions
variety of media, including cinema, television, video games, and other
active forms.
Given the complexity of relations, pressures, and incentives, it is inev
that museums have been described in myriad ways: as temples of ci
tion, sites for the creation of citizens, forums for debate, settings for cu
interchange and negotiation of values, engines of economic renewal and
nue generation, imposed colonialist enterprises, havens of elitist disti
and discrimination, and places of empowerment and recognition—alt
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