The Past and Future of Museums: Questions of Representation and Experience

Friday 13 November 2015, 5.00PM to 6.30pm

Centre for Modern Studies Postgraduate Forum Seminar

  • Lauren Padgett (Leeds Trinity University): Work in Progress: Victorian Women in Contemporary Museums
  • Dan Johnson (University of York): Total Immersion: The Future of How Visitors Experience in Museums


In this seminar, two papers will be presented that look to the future of museums, and how they might be both more representative and engaging, by exploring the work conducted in local museums.

The first paper will introduce Lauren's study into the representations of Victorian women in contemporary museum displays in the Yorkshire and Humber region. The paper will trace the scholarship of and growing interest into the representation of women in museums from the 1980s to the present day by both museum researchers and museum professionals. Lauren's research observes and analyses how Victorian women are represented, reinterpreted and reimagined through exhibitionary techniques, display design, and the content and context of exhibitions. Using a pilot study that was conducted at Abbey House Museum, Leeds in September 2015, this paper will tentatively conclude whether the representations of Victorian women are “honest and fair” or “passive and shallow”.

The second paper seeks to explore a world where museums are completely interactive, engaging, and participatory. To create this world, Dan has produced a detailed analysis of various museums in York, which function as case studies in the creation of a blueprint for the museums of the future. His paper will assess the extent to which these museums utilise the available literature and theory surrounding engagement and participation in the industry, critiquing the use of various degrees of engagement by museums, in the creation of a platform for visitors to personally contribute to museum exhibitions – using sights, smells, sounds, as well as being able to touch and interact directly with objects and re-enact historical events.

Location: BS/008, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: All welcome