New Museology: Modernizing Museums

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‘New museology’ is the concept of modernising museums and making them more interesting and interactive for the visitors. The District Six Museum is a good example of new museology because it is a relatively new museum that was started and run by the community, not the state and it is very different to older museums. It is very appropriate to have a museum like this in South Africa, because what happened in District Six should not be forgotten and museums like this one encourage people to visit them and find out more about what has happened. Part of new museology is to teach people more about what happened in the past by using more interactive displays; the District Six Museum does this by using a range of interesting and interactive displays.

In traditional museums all the displays are behind glass and you are not allowed to touch anything. The items on display are often animals or artefacts are from very far away or have been donated by a wealthy collector. The displays are not changed very often.

In more modern museums the displays are not only insect and animal from far away. They have a much wider range of items on display and many come from people who have something they think the museum would like. Not all of the displays are from far away; many are from people very near to the museum. The displays are more interactive and are not all behind glass. Some of the displays are regularly updated and they are more interactive.

New museology is the modernisation of museums. New museums are made to be more interactive and more interesting for the visitors. Displays in the museums are no longer covered in glass and people are encouraged to look more closely and interact with displays. The museums are brighter are the displays...

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...ible to prevent it from happening again. It is important for the people of District Six to be able to tell other people what happened and to be able to show people what life was like for them before Apartheid. The museum was a form of protest against what happened.

The District Six Museum is a very good example of New Museology. It has a range of displays which are not in a set order (doesn’t matter which display you look at first), often updated and interactive. It makes use of audio and visual aides to make the displays more interactive. The museum is run by the community not the state and is in a building that was once part of District Six. It is very appropriate to have a museum like this in post Apartheid South Africa so that people will never forget what happened during Apartheid and so that people who were affected by apartheid can tell others what happened.

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