The Liberation of Identity. The Margin Redraws the Museum – a Preliminary Study

by

Catrìona Macdonald

Keywords

  • museum
  • gallery
  • interpretation
  • representation
  • design

With the Palestinian Museum opening in May this year and the recently successful fundraising campaign for Faheem Majeed and Jeremiah Hulsebros-Spofford’s Floating Museum in Chicago, it would be tempting to suggest that we are entering a new praxis of the marginal in the museum. A hallowed place once reserved for the cultural élite, the concept of the museum has a history embedded in imperialist gains and repressed losses. Often intimidating, the problems of access, interpretation and representation in museums trouble architects, curators and exhibition designers alike. To what extent must the typology of a museum building both reflect and enable the marginal artefacts contained within? How can you design a functioning museum without producing something that enhances its ideologies? Is it possible to design a museum of the margins or is the term “museum” too loaded? Can the concept of “museum” be more flexible in order to keep up with the cultural world as it is now? Perhaps we need to move beyond the museum; perhaps the museum itself is dead.