Samuel J.M.M. Alberti
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Audiences and objects
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The history of the Manchester Museum is fundamentally a history of people, and how they relate to objects. This chapter draws from the established bodies of work in cultural theory, mass communication studies and book history that view the communication process from both sides. In museum studies, visitor theory and contemporary surveys are replacing the passive audience with active participants in the construction of meaning, but seldom has the historical visitor been awarded the same courtesy. Text, arrangement and building worked together to condition the museum experience. From the First World War, the educational department of the Museum had an almost exclusive focus on primary schoolchildren. In Manchester, school buildings were required as military hospitals, so the town implemented a 'two-shift' system whereby classes from around twenty schools spent half the day outside school buildings.

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Nature and culture

Objects, disciplines and the Manchester Museum


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