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Unpacking the Collection

Museum collections are often perceived as static entities hidden away in storerooms or trapped behind glass cases. By focusing on the dynamic histories of museum collections, new research reveals their pivotal role in shaping a wide range of social relations. Over time and across space the interactions between these artefacts and the people and institutions who made, traded, collected, researched and exhibited them have generated complex networks of material and social agency. In this innovative volume, the contributors draw on a broad range of source materials to explore the cross-cultural interactions which have created museum collections. These case studies contribute significantly to the development of new theoretical frameworks to examine broader questions of materiality, agency, and identity in the past and present. Grounded in case studies from individual objects and museum collections from North America, Europe, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, this truly international volume juxtaposes historical, geographical, and cross-cultural studies. This work will be of great interest to archaeologists and anthropologists studying material culture, as well as researchers in museum studies and cultural heritage management.
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION.- Chapter 1. Networks, Agents and Objects: Frameworks for Unpacking Museum Collections by Sarah Byrne, Anne Clarke, Rodney Harrison and Robin Torrence PROCESSES AND PERSPECTIVES.- Chapter 2. 'Suitable for Decoration of Halls and Billiard Rooms': Finding Indigenous Agency in Historic Auction and Sale Catalogues by Robin Torrence and Anne Clarke.- Chapter 3. Consuming Colonialism: Curio-seller's Catalogues, Souvenir Objects and Indigenous Agency in Oceania by Rodney Harrison.- Chapter 4. Plumes, Pipes and Valuable: The Papuan Artefact Trade in South-West New Guinea, 1845-1888 by Susan Davies COLLECTORS AND NATIONHOOD.- Chapter 5. Donors, Loaners, Dealers and Swappers: The Relationships behind the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum by Chris Wingfield.- Chapter 6. The Bekom Mask and the White Star: The Fate of Others' Objects at the Musee du Quai Branly by Alexandra Loumpet-Galitzine.- Chapter 7. Agency, Prestige and Politics: Dutch Collecting Abroad and Local Responses by Pieter ter Keurs COMMUNITIES AND COLLECTIONS.- Chapter 8. Crafting Hopi Identities at the Museum of Northern Arizona by Kelley Hays-Gilpin.- Chapter 9. Pathways to Knowledge: Research Agency and Power Relations in the Context of Collaborations Between Museums and Source Communities by Lindy Allen and Louise Hamby.- Chapter 10. `Objects as Ambassadors': Representing Nation through Museum Exhibitions by Chantal Knowles.- Chapter 11. Seats of Power and Iconographies of Identity in Ecuador by Colin McEwan and Maria-Isabel Silva INDIVIDUAL COLLECTORS, OBJECTS AND 'TYPES'.- Chapter 12. Hedley takes a Holiday: Collections from Kanak People in the Australian Museum by Jude Philp.- Chapter 13. Death, Memory and Collecting: Creating the Conditions for Ancestralisation in South London Households by Fiona Parrot.- Chapter 14. Trials and Traces: A. C. Haddon's Agency as Museum Curator by Sarah Byrne.

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