October 23, 2006

AUDIO | ABC Radio: museum texts

Linguist Louise Ravelli on museum texts

In the wake of the controversy that greeted its opening in 2001, the National Museum of Australia was subjected to a review by a panel of historians. Their report, published in 2003, began by acknowledging the 'different conceptions of the role of a national museum within its society. Not only have perceptions changed over the last century, but a consensus has given way to competing and sometimes incompatible views.' In the end, it all comes down to what we the public make of these competing views, which narrative we trust, in all types of museum, all over the world.

Louise Ravelli is senior lecturer in linguistics at the University of New South Wales and the author of Museum Texts. She shows how museum texts construct different versions of the 'truth' or 'reality'.

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