Abstract

In this paper we consider the ways that museum objects have multiple and mutable identities through a focus on three objects from the southeast coast of Papua New Guinea. Our approach is to scrutinise the materiality of these three objects to understand the ways that an object changes physically and symbolically from the point of making, to collection, through to museum acquisition and potential exchange, conservation, exhibition and research. Through this approach we show how small “fact” details about objects from museum documentation systems become entangled in ideas and notions far beyond those of the times in which the objects were created and collected. We conclude that to understand museum objects we need to recognise their roles in the socio-cultural worlds of their makers and those of the collector-museum.

 
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Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Lilje and Philp, 2021. Tech. Rep. Aust. Mus., Online 34: 183–194
Author
Erna Lilje; Jude Philp
Year
2021
Title
The dancing trees: objects, facts and ideas in museums. In From Field to Museum—Studies from Melanesia in Honour of Robin Torrence, ed. Jim Specht, Val Attenbrow, and Jim Allen
Serial Title
Technical Reports of the Australian Museum online
Volume
34
Start Page
183
End Page
194
DOI
10.3853/j.1835-4211.34.2021.1751
Language
en
Date Published
12 May 2021
Cover Date
12 May 2021
ISSN
ISSN 1835-4211 (online)
Publisher
The Australian Museum
Place Published
Sydney, Australia
Subjects
ANTHROPOLOGY; ARCHAEOLOGY
Digitized
12 May 2021
Available Online
12 May 2021
Reference Number
1751
EndNote
1751.enw
Title Page
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