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Theorizing Digital Cultural HeritageA Critical Discourse$
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Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780262033534

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262033534.001.0001

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A Crisis of Authority: New Lamps for Old

A Crisis of Authority: New Lamps for Old

(p.132) (p.133) 7 A Crisis of Authority: New Lamps for Old
Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage

Susan Hazan

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the role of digital media in museums and how it alters the relationship between museums and their audiences in terms of knowledge. Museums traditionally owned an ideological expert system that was once considered the primary authority on the knowledge systems they manage. Today, however, museum audiences may avail themselves of such knowledge through new media and other online resources. There have also been challenges to the educational goals and social responsibilities that have long been associated with the insular institution of the museum. The chapter outlines the various adjustments that museums are making, and are required to make, as they face a crisis of authority. It argues that new media applications integrated into museum practice are not intended to displace or distract from the museum mission, or to collect, display, and interpret the material collections for the visitor. Rather, they are designed to enhance and extend the museum mandate in novel ways.

Keywords:   digital media, museums, new media, knowledge, authority, online resources

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