The Future of Museums: A Review of the Literature

Week three focused on the future of museums.  There wasn’t much assigned to read.  Each student was instructed to select an article from a journal entitled Museums and Cultural Policy put out by Museum International to discuss.  We were also asked to explore the Center for the Future of Museums and to read an article titled Museums, national, post-national and trans-cultural identities.

Sharon Macdonald’s article on the changing landscape of museums and what constitutes a country’s cultural and cultural heritage.  She details the attempts of an exhibit in Bradford, England to promote the trans-cultural South Asian population of Bradford and its influences on the area.

I decided to read “The Changing Contribution of Cultural Heritage” by Cornelius Holtorf.  Holtorf talks about how the concept of Cultural Heritage has changed and how it can contribute to a 21s century society.  He argues that cultural heritage has begun to change from the model in the 19th and first half of the 20th century due to our increasingly global society  and diverse populations.  According to him, the cultural heritage of a nation is not longer based solely off of the “nation-state” model.

He disscusses the different kinds of sites that can be become cultural heritage sites in today’s world, inlcuding those in pop culutre such as one’s mentioned in The Da Vinci code and other popular books.  One site he talks about, a picture of which is included, is a car cemetary in Sweeden, and how that shows us our past.

Holtorf makes an excelelnt point about the changing meanings behind cultural heritage in todays world.  He gives support for his arugment and disscusses several “modern” interpretations of cultural hertiage around the world.  I found the article very interesting and thought provoking.


Holtorf, C.  (2012).  The changing contribution of cultural heritage.  Museums International, 63, 1-2, 8-16.

Macdonald, S. ().Museums, national, postnational and transcultural identities. In B. Carbonell (Eds.), Museum studies: An anthology of contexts. (p. 273-286). Malden, Massachusetts, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.*

*I do not know if this citation is correct.  We were not given all the information, the text of the article was just posted on the class website.  I took the citation from a classmates discussion board post.


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