THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL: Museum Displays and the Creation of Knowledge



This paper presents a methodological framework for conducting research on the knowledge-making capacity of museum displays. As active agents in the production of knowledge, museum displays are increasingly being recognized as documents of significance to the history of scholarly disciplines and the evolution of ideas. In order to investigate how exhibitions create knowledge, a basic outline of some of the key attributes involved in creating meaning in exhibitions is offered. Building on research in exhibition analysis, the history of collecting, and archaeological representation, this account emphasizes how there is a complex network of factors that warrant consideration when assessing the epistemological function of museums.