Oceania in the Museum: Changing Representations of Pacific Collections

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dc.contributor.advisor Vercoe, I en
dc.contributor.advisor Buchanan, I en
dc.contributor.author Wolfe, Richard en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-01-29T01:08:16Z en
dc.date.issued 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45128 en
dc.description.abstract This thesis examines how the material culture of the Pacific has been represented in public museums. It considers such influential factors as ethnography, Eurocentrism and evolutionary theory, the New Museum Idea, European Primitivism, the concept of the temporary exhibition, decolonisation and the independence movement, the ‘new museology’, and the engagement of Pacific peoples in the ongoing story of how their cultural heritage is exhibited and represented. An original contribution to knowledge offered by this thesis is the analysis of the changing representations of the Pacific within the context of how other non-European cultures, Africa in particular, have been represented by museums. Related to this is a comparison of changing museological attitudes towards Pacific and other collections, previously categorised as ethnography, and how they have impacted on the exhibiting of these cultures. This study examines Pacific material from the time it was first known to have entered a museum, in Britain, in the early eighteenth century. It considers how and why Pacific cultural material was sought and gathered in the first instance, the responses to it in the metropoleand, in particular, the manner in which it was exhibited to the public. It draws on both published and unpublished museum archives, reports and exhibition catalogues, and incorporates significant primary research alongside an analysis of critical museological writing and discourses by a range of leading writers and commentators, including James Clifford, Tony Bennett, Nicholas Thomas, Sally Price, Sidney Moko Mead and Paul Tapsell. Key events and institutions which either pioneered or typified significant developments relating to the public display of Pacific collections, in the form of both temporary and ‘permanent’ exhibitions, are identified and examined. The institutions discussed in detail include the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the British Museum – the one located within the Pacific, and the other qualifying as the earliest and most important beneficiary of cultural material collected in that region. The focus on exhibitions also recognises the significance of certain individual artworks which have illustrated aspects of the processes under examination. These include the sculptures Kave (from Nukuoro, Caroline Islands, collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum), A’a (from Rurutu, Austral Islands, collection of the British Museum) and the monumental Hoa Hakananai‘a (from Rapa Nui, Easter Island, collection of the British Museum). At the same time this study acknowledges the initiatives of selected collectors, museum directors, anthropologists, ethnographers and exhibition curators who have contributed to the changing representations of the Pacific, since material culture from the region first went on exhibition in a public museum some 240 years ago. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265119212702091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Oceania in the Museum: Changing Representations of Pacific Collections en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Art History en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 760261 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-01-29 en


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