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Museum outreach programs creating sense of place

posted on 2023-05-22, 11:31 authored by Vanclay, FM, Wills, J, Lane, R

Museums are reaching out to new audiences. In outreach programs they are using new methods and embracing a wider range of topics to go beyond the confines of their buildings to engage with communities in new ways. Once criticised for being elitist, museums now seek to increase their relevance in the world and to appeal to a wider range of people. Public institutions are increasingly required to justify why they should be financially supported. Their role in society can no longer be taken for granted. This chapter explores how museums can be in the service of society by highlighting some of the outreach programs of the National Museum of Australia that have a sense of place focus.

Over the past few decades there has been a somewhat contested change in philosophy in the field of museum studies with the rise of the 'new museology'. While some institutions continue with a traditional notion of museum, others extend beyond being warehouses of artefacts to being sites of interpretation. There is an increasing acceptance of multiple interpretations of objects and the social construction of knowledge, rather than perpetuation of traditional modes of a singular definitive expert statement of fact about history or an object. Interpretation now occurs through multiple narratives at different scales and from different perspectives, from the personal to the national.


Publication title

Making Sense of Place


Vanclay F, Higgins M and Blackshaw A






Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


National Museum of Australia Press

Place of publication

Canberra, ACT



Rights statement

Copyright 2008 National Museum of Australia Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmental education and awareness

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