The Contemporary Museum as a Site for Displaying Values


  • Mare Kõiva Estonian Literary Museum


multifunctional museum, museology, presentation of tangible and intangible history, digitalization, museological anthropology


Museums constitute an important cultural and social resource. The main objective of museums is making certain objects in the collection visible or, on the contrary, leaving them invisible. In contemporary society the institution serves many important roles, being a place for displaying historical and contemporary values, an institution for preserving and displaying personal and collective memory, cultural values, for collecting tangible and intangible values, an institution for creating identity and ethnic kudos, a work place, an educational environment, a framework for promoting ethnic handicraft and art, a place for integrating different folklore festivals, exhibitions, shows; they are connected to tourism patterns and museum business. The article reflects the changes in the development of museums in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, focusing on the main key words being multifunctional museum, the museum as an open classroom, presentation of tangible and intangible history, the relation and mergence of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The issues of digitalization and preservation and the role of the exhibition curator and the person represented on displays have increased in the museology of the past few decades. The museums’ tradition of self-replication and an increased interest in museological anthropology indicate that museums fulfil an important role in society.


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