Museums in the Second World War : curators, culture and change / Catherine Pearson ; Ed. by Suzanne Keene.

By: Pearson, CatherineContributor(s): Keene, Suzanne, EdSeries: Routledge studies in modern historyPublisher: London: Routledge, 2017Description: xvii, 288 pISBN: 9781472479686Subject(s): Museums -- Great Britain | Museums -- Great Britain | Museum curators -- Great Britain | World War, 1939-1945 -- Great Britain | Social change -- Great BritainDDC classification: 069.094 109 04 Online resources: Click here to access online
Contents:
Timeline: Major events around the Second World War and the home front -- Part I. 1918-1939 : between the wars -- Between the wars : museums and cultural politics -- Charting progress : the Markham Report -- Museums before the war : the context for reform -- Part II. 1939-1940 : at the start of the war -- Confronting conflict : collections, closings and openings -- As war begins : from propaganda to recognition -- Part III. 1941-1944 : during wartime -- State support : the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) -- Temples to the arts -- Planning for peacetime -- Reflections on wartime practice -- Community engagement, education and exhibitions -- Audiences in wartime -- Memory and identity -- Museum staff and the war -- Part V. 1944-1949 : the aftermath of the war -- A national museum service : the final bid -- The post-war decades : museums in the aftermath of war -- Part VI. 1950-1964 : from austerity to reconstruction -- Towards a regional service -- Conclusions: Museums forget their past -- Appendix: Primary sources.
Scope and content: "Exploring the role of museums, galleries and curators during the upheaval of the Second World War, this book challenges the accepted view of a hiatus in museum services during the conflict and its immediate aftermath. Instead it argues that new thinking in the 1930s was realised in a number of promising initiatives during the war only to fail during the fragmented post-war recovery. Based on new research including interviews with retired museum staff, letters, diaries, museum archives and government records, this study reveals a complex picture of both innovation and inertia. At the outbreak of war precious objects were stored away and staff numbers reduced, but although many museums were closed, others successfully campaigned to remain open. By providing innovative modern exhibitions and education initiatives they became popular and valued venues for the public. After the war, however, museums returned to their more traditional, collections-centred approach and failed to negotiate the public funding needed for reconstruction based on this narrower view of their role. Hence, in the longer term, the destruction and economic and social consequences of the conflict served to delay aspirations for reconstruction until the 1960s. Through this lens, the history of the museum in the mid-twentieth century appears as one shaped by the effects of war but equally determined by the input of curators, audiences and the state. The museum thus emerges not as an isolated institution concerned only with presenting the past but as a product of the changing conflicts and cultures within society"--Provided by publisher.
List(s) this item appears in: New Additions May-June 2019
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069.094 109 04 Q7 (Browse shelf) Available 59599
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Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-284) and index.

Timeline: Major events around the Second World War and the home front -- Part I. 1918-1939 : between the wars -- Between the wars : museums and cultural politics -- Charting progress : the Markham Report -- Museums before the war : the context for reform -- Part II. 1939-1940 : at the start of the war -- Confronting conflict : collections, closings and openings -- As war begins : from propaganda to recognition -- Part III. 1941-1944 : during wartime -- State support : the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) -- Temples to the arts -- Planning for peacetime -- Reflections on wartime practice -- Community engagement, education and exhibitions -- Audiences in wartime -- Memory and identity -- Museum staff and the war -- Part V. 1944-1949 : the aftermath of the war -- A national museum service : the final bid -- The post-war decades : museums in the aftermath of war -- Part VI. 1950-1964 : from austerity to reconstruction -- Towards a regional service -- Conclusions: Museums forget their past -- Appendix: Primary sources.

"Exploring the role of museums, galleries and curators during the upheaval of the Second World War, this book challenges the accepted view of a hiatus in museum services during the conflict and its immediate aftermath. Instead it argues that new thinking in the 1930s was realised in a number of promising initiatives during the war only to fail during the fragmented post-war recovery. Based on new research including interviews with retired museum staff, letters, diaries, museum archives and government records, this study reveals a complex picture of both innovation and inertia. At the outbreak of war precious objects were stored away and staff numbers reduced, but although many museums were closed, others successfully campaigned to remain open. By providing innovative modern exhibitions and education initiatives they became popular and valued venues for the public. After the war, however, museums returned to their more traditional, collections-centred approach and failed to negotiate the public funding needed for reconstruction based on this narrower view of their role. Hence, in the longer term, the destruction and economic and social consequences of the conflict served to delay aspirations for reconstruction until the 1960s. Through this lens, the history of the museum in the mid-twentieth century appears as one shaped by the effects of war but equally determined by the input of curators, audiences and the state. The museum thus emerges not as an isolated institution concerned only with presenting the past but as a product of the changing conflicts and cultures within society"--Provided by publisher.

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