Paul Eggert paper thumbnail

Witnessing social history
The artefact, the visitor and the new museology

by Paul Eggert

This article traces some changes in museum practices from the 1960s, especially the ways museums have come to capture social history. It argues that there is a need for a rebalancing of museums' twin obligations towards artefacts and the visitor, that museum professionals need to place a renewed emphasis upon the originating or production end of the spectrum, and that theorists of museology need to reflect more fundamentally on the nature and importance of the historical witness of the artefacts themselves.

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Captain Cook thumbnail

The contagious magic of James Cook in Captain-Cook's cottage

by Linda Young

It is widely known that the so-called Cooks' Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, relocated from Yorkshire to Melbourne in 1934, was never inhabited by Captain James Cook. Yet a subliminal nationalism, sustained by the ancient traditions of contagious magic, feeds the conviction that the dwelling must be directly connected to Australia's foundation hero — a relic that the great man touched — or else it is meaningless.

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