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Translating archaeology for the public: empowering and engaging museum goers with the past

Translating archaeology for the public: empowering and engaging museum goers with the past The heart of any heritage programme must involve an examination of the whole heritage process – teaching visitors how insights are actually generated. Archaeological artefacts, for example, are not just inanimate objects. They carry ideas and convey messages, and they ‘document’ the past. One can ‘listen’ to conversations carried out in the physical, or ‘read’ artefacts much as one would a deed, letter or newspaper. Isaac Royall was the largest slaveholder in Massachusetts, and this article provides three examples from the Royall House where the material world has been submitted to textual and linguistic analysis. Visitors to the site learn to ‘read’ landscapes, artefacts and documents, and they are thereby empowered to engage actively in the process of knowledge production. This approach not only cultivates a heightened respect and understanding for what archaeology does, but also makes dialogues of race, ethnicity, class or culture accessible and interesting to more people than ever before. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Heritage Studies Taylor & Francis

Translating archaeology for the public: empowering and engaging museum goers with the past

21 pages

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References (41)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1470-3610
eISSN
1352-7258
DOI
10.1080/13527258.2011.541069
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The heart of any heritage programme must involve an examination of the whole heritage process – teaching visitors how insights are actually generated. Archaeological artefacts, for example, are not just inanimate objects. They carry ideas and convey messages, and they ‘document’ the past. One can ‘listen’ to conversations carried out in the physical, or ‘read’ artefacts much as one would a deed, letter or newspaper. Isaac Royall was the largest slaveholder in Massachusetts, and this article provides three examples from the Royall House where the material world has been submitted to textual and linguistic analysis. Visitors to the site learn to ‘read’ landscapes, artefacts and documents, and they are thereby empowered to engage actively in the process of knowledge production. This approach not only cultivates a heightened respect and understanding for what archaeology does, but also makes dialogues of race, ethnicity, class or culture accessible and interesting to more people than ever before.

Journal

International Journal of Heritage StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2011

Keywords: archaeology; house museums; New England; public narrative; slavery

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