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Title: Community museums in Mexico : local identitiy, national citizenship and global museology
Author: Barnes, Erin M.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2003
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The focus of this study is Mexico's Programa Nacional de Museos Comunitarios y Ecomuseos, a national programme of community-based museums that aims to strengthen the relationship between civil society and its patrimony. This study examines the claims made of the community museum as a federal programme and as an expression of new museology, and compares them to the actual state of the museums in their communities. It also approaches the museums as a group of institutions participating in regional, national and global networks, whose objectives extend beyond the community, aiming to change how patrimony is constructed, portrayed and managed. Community museums, which base themselves in an "authenticity" attributed to the community, endeavour to reverse the museum's top-down structure and expand its social role, strengthening local identity and community cohesion by basing themselves in people and their greater environment, not in objects. I illustrate that in Mexico the museums have largely been unable to live up to the ambitious goals set for them, and that while they succeed in expanding museum audiences they show limited evidence of widescale community engagement and largely function as "traditional" object-based institutions. I argue that this does not mean the failure of the community museum, stressing that community museologists must move away from their elaborate theoretical discourse and focus more on providing communities with the necessary resources to create and maintain more dynamic exhibitions. Furthermore, as a national programme the museums have an important symbolic value, serving as evidence of a new multicultural image of "the Mexican, " and through networks community museums have expanded their scope, forming a power base that enables them to work towards shared objectives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available