The New Museology, the seminal work edited by Peter Vergo, still influences me and my museum career more than 30 years after it was first published. This is because it was one of the first books I bought after being accepted on the museum studies course at the University of Leicester.
This book was a cornerstone work during the course. I quoted it in every essay that I wrote, as well as my thesis, because it is beautifully constructed with essays on interesting and well-researched subjects by several noted authors in the field of museology. This work has nurtured my enthusiasm and passion for collections and how to engage with visitors.
My dedication to making the history and features of objects interesting to a varied audience continues to this day, having worked in the gallery with visitors and behind the scenes with collections. This is a book I return to regularly with my historical background and focus on social history collections. I particularly enjoy the essay Objects of Knowledge by Ludmilla Jordanova, signified by her quote: “Objects are triggers of chains…that go far beyond their initial starting point.”
The New Museology illustrates how far we in the museum industry have come, while still developing and innovating to suit our ever-changing audiences and collections. It continues to heavily influence museology and research. Indeed, this book’s resonance was highlighted by the conference, What’s New? Revisiting New Museology, in Krakow last November, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of its publication and reinterrogated its subject matter and themes.