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Institutionalised Invisibility: Histories of Models and their Makers

Insley, Jane; (2019) Institutionalised Invisibility: Histories of Models and their Makers. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

My thesis combines interdisciplinary research methods and is situated within the field of museum collecting: specifically it investigates the histories of models commissioned and used institutionally for instructional display. Investigating three collections (crystal models in National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh; architectural models at St Paul’s Cathedral, London; and dioramas at the Science Museum, London) I found evidence of official and unofficial forgetting. Once high profile, models were removed from public display and are in danger of disappearing altogether. Further, I investigate the fate and reputations of the models’ makers, uncovering their training, careers and how they were valued, revealing previously unrecognised stories that could contribute to institutional history, and to the development of wider audiences. I consider what others have thought about the practice of history focusing on object agency, authenticity, copies, memory, and the role of museums, using Actor- Network Theory. Literature from the fields within which the models were (originally) created is considered alongside the collection histories. The models are representational, and used as tools – crystal models for understanding and teaching properties of matter, architectural models for analysing and creating buildings, and dioramas showing context for scientific and technological processes. Despite having essential skills the makers became side-lined. I discuss how this invisibility occurs by considering institutional attitudes to their own histories in present practice, and the nature of official forgetting through disposal. Choosing what should be remembered and how is the subject of a museum sector shift, contemporary concern being for more open, reflective collection management and audience engagement, and maximising use of items which are preserved. I finish with contemporary examples of public enthusiasm for these subjects in craft, art history and exhibition – visibility regained.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Institutionalised Invisibility: Histories of Models and their Makers
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088366
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