The theme I found interesting for this week’s reading was that museums are places that perpetuate political and ideological agendas of particular people and institutions. According to Luke, their exhibits, and sometimes their entire collection, portray one set of values. This came as a surprise to me, since I figured museums were objective, and picked exhibits that would appeal to the widest audience.
The other part of this reading that I found interesting was about the exhibit that explored the West and the various ways that it has been romanticized. The dichotomy of the real western frontier and the hollywood version are concepts that I have come across before, but that helped me read this book because I understood better how the museum was criticizing the inherent view of the West. It also reminded me of the West as a place, and as a concept. That’s where the Virginian comes in comparison to this reading, where an Eastern writer portrays “western” values and the epitome of a man, and how that gets perpetuated through time. I honestly want to keep my inherited visions of the West, while at the same time understanding the truth and how the preconception I have was started.
In addition, I am very interested on the role museums play to create the “ideal” citizen by what they display and the values that the artifact/artwork perpetuates. The concept of museums as places that sterilize and purify the versions of history or values they want to portray intrigued me. This is just a side note, and not a fully developed concept in my mind that I can express eloquently. I have come across schools as places that create the “ideal” citizen, so I am intrigued how both work together since school children visit museums (or did at one time) to tag team the creation of responsible citizens.