A living museum is a type of museum that recreates historical settings to simulate a past time, providing visitors with an experiential interpretation of history to the fullest extent conditions of culture, natural environment or historical period in an example of living history. Some examples of bad interpretation: that does not relate to what is on display or being described to enhance the overall experience, should aim to present a whole instead of simply part of the interpretation, gearing interpretation towards adults when it should be geared towards children, adults will be able to pick up on it. Demonstrates and performs daily tasks and crafts of the time period with inaccuracies. Portray of historic figure of what the idealized image is instead of the facts. Replicating the past state of mind is impossible to do therefore living history is inherently inaccurate. Inaccurate costuming.
I think that having a degree in history, public history, museum studies or education is very beneficial to have when planning on a living collection.

One Thought to “Living collections”

  1. Angela Linn

    Thanks for your post Becca. I agree that training in history, public history, museum studies, and education are all really beneficial for folks working in living history museums. But your statement that “replicating the past state of mind is impossible” is spot on. There’s a famous book title “The Past is a Foreign Country” – Terrence Cole followed this up with “They do things differently there.” It’s important to remember this whenever we study the past – it’s nearly impossible to place our own values and judgements on the people who lived in those times and the choices they made. It’s true that any time we try to “live history” we get it somewhat wrong – I think the best we can do is try to remember the context of those people and the decisions they made.

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