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 Eesti keel / Erialane areng / Museoloogia-alane kirjandus / Ingliskeelne kirjandus / P. van Mensch „Towards a methodology of museology" / 04 Object of knowledge


 

Peter van Mensch „Towards a methodology of museology” (PhD thesis, University of Zagreb, 1992)

Object of knowledge

The first to discuss the concept of the object of knowledge in museology was Neustupny (in the 1950s). The discussion was subsequently taken up in the early 1960s in the German Democratic Republic where a working group finally defined the 'Gesamtheit der Museumsarbeit' (the totality of museum work) as object of knowledge. The German discussion was partly continued during the first symposium to be held on the theory of museology (at Brno, 1965). The participants of the symposium, however, did not come to any conclusion (which was obviously not the aim of the meeting anyway). The International Committee for Museology re-opened the discussion. Its many symposiums brought about numerous new concepts. In 1986 the committee decided to organise a workshop in order to assess the 'state of the art' [note 1]. Unfortunately the results of this workshop have never been published and could thus not influence the development of thinking about status and content of museology as academic discipline.

Proliferation of views

Since 1965 the diversity of views as to the content of museology seems to have proliferated increasingly instead of crystallising into a few well-defined schools of thought. For that reason Stransky did not want to use the term 'object of knowledge', but preferred to speak of 'tendency of knowledge' (Stransky 1983). Many authors have tried to systematise this variety of tendencies, like Jensen (Jensen 1980), Benes (Benes 1981), Gluzinski (Gluzinski 1983), Schreiner (Schreiner in Schreiner & Wecks 1986), Hofmann (Hofmann 1983), Razgon (Razgon in Herbst & Levykin ed. 1988), and Stransky (1966 and 1986). In May 1986 ICOFOM organised a workshop aimed at the analysis of the papers presented on the topic 'Museology - science or just practical work ?' (in Museological Working Papers 1 & 2). During the process of work the main problem appeared to be the fragmented character of many papers. Any analysis on the basis of ICOFOM materials does not seem to do justice to the authors, since it is not based on the totality of their work. Some contributions to the ICOFOM themes are cut outs from more complete theories of which the main structures are published elsewhere, sometimes in the form of a book (Benes, Deloche, Gluzinski, Gregorova, Maroevic, Schreiner), sometimes in a series of articles in different periodicals (Desvallees, Jahn, van Mensch, Razgon, Russio, Sola, Stransky, Swiecimski). An extra complicating factor is the language in which these books and articles are written. Apart from English and French, it is Croatian, Czech, Dutch, German, Polish, Portugese, and Russian.

Despite these problems the analyses are rather unanimous
[note 2]. The diversity of approaches is best described as a continuum with a predominantly pragmatic institutional approach at one end and a more generalised human/object relationship approach at the other (Spielbauer 1983). In fact we are dealing with different levels of abstraction within a system of interrelated parameters. As such the approaches are based on arbitrary accepted systems of reference and do not permit to decide which of them is right, nor do they permit to eliminate rival conceptions (Gluzinski 1980: 444). It is not the museological field that is defined but only a certain perspective on this field. Gluzinski in fact winds up the discussion by stating that the subject-matter (object of knowledge) of a scientific discipline is never identical with any domain of reality, but with its specific aspect. Many sciences may concur in a given domain of reality, but each of them will have as its subject-matter a different aspect of this reality. Thus, the domain of reality does not define the object of investigation of a given discipline.

All 'museologies' deal with the same basic set of parameters. In other words, they all cover more or less the same field. The differences concern the extend of the field. The basic parameters are: the natural and cultural heritage, the activities concerned with the preservation and communication of this heritage, the institutional frame-work, and society as a whole (see Chapter 11). Notwithstanding Gluzinski's remarks concerning the relationship between reality and scientific disciplines, the different cognitive orientations in museology can be clearly mapped out in connection with these parameters. Such typology is nothing more than a rough outline of the main orientations found among the writings on the subject matter of museology. It is not an inventory of 'museological schools'. Some authors, for example Desvallees (1987), are inclined to refer to a 'Czech school', but this is based on insufficient knowledge of the situation in the Czech Republic. There is a marked difference between Neustupny, Benes, Jelinek and Stransky. In Czech Republic, as in other countries, the development of museology depends on individual persons rather than organisations.

Object oriented museologies

One group of 'museologies' is based on the recognition of 'heritage' as the most essential parameter. Most authors belonging to this group limit their scope of interest to museum objects. There is an undeniable connection between the concept of museology as the study of museum objects and the recognition that the interpretation of objects as the central and most distinctive feature of museum work. At the symposium held in 1965 in Brno Bruna defined the object of museological understanding as: the problem concerning material, movable objects, authentic pieces of objective reality, which - having lost their original and now obsolete functions - have acquired, are acquiring or will acquire new functions as evidence of their development (Bruna in Stransky ed. 1966). A similar point of view was reflected in an Entwurf von Thesen zur Museumwissenschaft published in the German Democratic Republic in 1964. In agreement with archive and library sciences, it was suggested to call museology a documentation science which task it is to assess, collect, conserve, etc. objects as primary sources. This report, however, was much criticised. The working party was accused of subordinating all subject matter disciplines to a presumable subject of study of museology (Jahn 1980: 48).

Bruna's point of view as well as that expressed in the document mentioned above, has its roots in museological theory as developed in the Soviet Union since 1930. As application of dialectical-materialistic methodology the specificity of museum work was considered to be derived from the use of objects as primary sources of knowledge (Schreiner 1987: 6). According to her own opinion, Ilse Jahn initially tended to consider the museum object as subject matter of museology. Soon afterwards she felt the need to separate museology from the subject matter disciplines in a more clear way. A definition based on the specific activities involved with the transform of 'Sachzeuge' into 'museale Sachzeuge' should give a better solution (Jahn in Arbeitsgruppe Museologie 1981: 47-51). In the same publication of the Arbeitsgruppe Museologie in which Jahn announced that she has changed her mind, several other museologists (Lang, Schulte, Wecks) nevertheless put forward the idea of the (museum) object as subject matter of museology. As such they represent an approach in museology which is strongly related to history museums.

In order to distinguish museology from the subject-matter disciplines several authors have tried to specify the cognitive orientation of museology on the basis of certain aspects of (museum) objects. In this respect to concepts are put forward: museality (Stransky) and cultural information (Maroevic). Throughout literature some misunderstanding can be noticed as to the meaning of the concept of museality as developed by Stransky. This misunderstanding concerns the question to what extent museality is a property of the object as document. The confusion is partly due to the rather vague definitions given by Stransky but also because his ideas changed. Initially, in his contribution to the Brno symposium of 1965, Stransky defined the subject matter of museology as the recognition of the object as primary source of knowledge ('das Erkennen des primären Dokuments'). In 1974, in a brochure concerning the museology course at the Jan E. Purkinje University (Brno), the task of museology was described as 'to perceive and identify documents which in every respect best represent certain social values'. This documentary value Stransky called museality. As explanation he states: 'The object of the knowledge-acquiring intention of museology is museality, conceived in the context of the entire historic, present and future social function'. In an article on collecting, he related museality to authenticity: "Under the concept of authenticity and, thus, museality of the document we have to understand its concrete and perceivable properties, its informational value (as a source of original information), regardless to its nature or character" (Stransky 1974: 33). In 1980 Stransky still speaks of museality as 'specific aspect of reality', but his definition of museology has changed: 'The mission of museology is to interprete scientifically this attitude of man to reality (i.e. the specific attitude which finds its expression in the inclination to acquire and preserve authentic representatives of values) and to make us understand museality in its historical and social context' (Stransky 1980). With his changing concept of the cognitive intention of museology, his concept of museality changed from a value category to the specific value orientation itself (see below).

Stransky's concept of museality (the old as well as the new concept) is strongly criticised by Schreiner. To Schreiner documentary value is not the property of an object as such, it is attributed to the object only in the context of a particular, specialised discipline. In his criticism Schreiner emphasises the fact that there cannot be a value 'an sich'. He considers the concept of museality being product of bourgeois thinking. 'Die bürgerlich-imperialistische Axiologie, die Wertphilosophie, propagiert dagegen sog zeitlose, klassenlose, allgemeinmenschliche, ewig gültige Werte an sich, um damit ihre bürgerlichen Klasseninteressen zu verabsolutieren und zu tarnen' (Schreiner 1987: 7). In the context of marxist-leninist ideology this is a cut-throat criticism. Without being mentioned by name, Stransky was in fact accused of propagating bourgeois ideology [
note 3]. Anyway, even if the concept of museality is accepted, it is, according to Schreiner, only to be considered one part of museological theory. This reflects the criticism expressed by Benes, who states that museality is only one of the criteria enabling museums to differentiate between museum objects and other artefacts, which is not enough to constitute the subject matter of a discipline (Benes 1981: 12). Besides, the approach seems to be mainly concerned with the individual rather than with society as a whole. Nevertheless, in later publications Benes seems to incline towards Stransky's ideas (Benes 1989). Hofmann too, considers this point of view valuable but vague (Hofmann 1983). He wonders whether 'das Theorieprogramm empirisch einlosbar ist'.

Stransky's old concept of museality is reflected in the work of Ivo Maroevic. With reference to Stransky Maroevic considers museality the specific research object in museology: 'Museology deals with systematic study of the processes of emitting information which are stored within material structure of musealia'. Maroevic distinguishes between two types of information: scientific and cultural information (see also
Chapter 7). Scientific information mainly defines the scientific facts; cultural information deals with the value(s) attributed to the object in the social context. According to Maroevic the subject-matter discipline makes use of the scientific information while museology is interested in cultural information.

Parallel to the shift from 'object' to 'value' there is also a shift from 'museum object' to 'heritage'. In 1982 Tomislav Sola proposed the term 'heritology ' for a broad concept of museology, which is no longer museum-centred, but deals with our attitude towards our total heritage. This approach agrees with the definition of heritage as given by UNESCO. This definition covers a wide range of phenomena. Concomitantly museology is considered to relate to, or even include the disciplines of archives management, librarianship, historic preservation, etc. This broadened scope is characteristic for many of the recent function oriented museologies. Stransky has criticised Sola's concept of heritology. His main objection is that heritology refers to the concept of cultural heritage, which concept has strong passive connotations. Stransky emphasises the aspect of active (museum) documentation as manifestation of 'the specific relationship of man to reality' (Stransky 1984, unpublished comment).

The transition of museology from the empirically descriptive phase to the theoretically synthetic phase is connected with the recognition of the value of the object/collection as carrier of cultural documentation. In this respect is is not surprising that attempts have been made to connect the cognitive intention of museology with museum objects. Hofmann criticizes this point of view by indicating that not only the relationship between museology and the subject-matter discipline remains unclear, but that also the concept of 'museum object' is not clearly defined (Hofmann 1983: 93). In addition Schreiner shows that the documentary value is always connected with the field of at least one subject matter discipline (Schreiner in Arbeitsgruppe Museologie 1981: 64). There is no general documentary value 'an sich' that justifies the point of view of the (museum) object as object of knowledge in museology. The distinction made by Maroevic between scientific information and cultural information meets the criticism expressed by Schreiner, Jahn and Benes who explain that on this point no distinction can be made between museology and subject-matter disciplines.

Function oriented museologies

In 1978 Razgon defined museology as 'a scientific discipline studying the laws of origin and development of museums '. He added, however, 'one of the principal elements of the subject matter of museology is the study of specific features of the objects - original sources of information ' (Razgon 1978). Later Razgon emphasised this point of view by stating: 'The object of knowledge of museology is formed by authentic objects (...) used for purposes of acquiring and transmitting knowledge' (Razgon in a paper presented at the Paris 1982 conference of ICOFOM, not published). His definition of museology changed accordingly: 'Museology is a social science that studies museum objects' ('La muséologie est un science sociale qui étudie les phénomenes cognitifs des pieces de musée'). Finally, in his chapter on the theory of museology in a handbook on history museums Razgon defines museology as a social science, studying the processes and laws concerning the preservation of social information as well as the transfer of knowledge and emotions through museum objects (Razgon in Herbst & Levykin eds.1988). Museology also studies the museum as a historically grown social phenomenon, the social functions of the museum, and the implementation of museum work in different socio-economic systems. Consequently the object of knowledge embraces the whole complex of specific laws governing the processes of preservation and communication within the museum context as well as the origin and functioning of museums.

In his museological thinking Razgon seems to have struggled with the hierarchy of three parameters: the institution, the specific set of activities developed in the institution, and the objects that are collected. The focal point of museological theory, i.e. the object of knowledge, shifted from institution (1978) to objects (1982) to activities (1988). Thus he arrived at the same point as some East-German museologists like Jahn, Schreiner and Schimpff. Schreiner defined the subject of museological research as: 'the entirety of the properties and structural and developmental laws determining the process of the collection, preservation, decoding, investigation, exhibition and communication of movable objects that are authentic sources and can, as such, provide lasting evidence of the development of nature and society and serve the purpose of gaining knowledge, imparting knowledge, and imparting emotional experiences' (Schreiner 1985: 33). This definition echoes the definition given by the Arbeitsgruppe Museologie in 1981: 'Die marxistisch-leninistische Museologie ist die Lehre von den museumsspezifischen Arbeitsprozessen (d.h. den menschlichen Taetigkeiten), durch die die Objekte aus Natur und Gesellschaft zu musealen Objekte (Musealien) werden, ihrer Beziehung zueinander und zur Gesellschaft'. Schimpff said it even shorter: 'Museology is the study of museum work' (Schimpff 1982: 15).

As to the position of the museum institute Jahn states: 'The institutionalization of the specific museum activities as "museum" is part of museology but not its primary object' (Jahn in Arbeitsgruppe Museologie 1981: 47). Jensen follows the same line of thought, but he adds that since the museum is the only institution which performs all the activities concerning the selection, preservation, research and dissemination of our heritage, museology might well be defined as the science of the museum and its roles and functions in society (Jensen 1980). More or less the same opinion is expressed by Sofka (Sofka 1980). The same 'struggle' to chose between institute and functions is found in the work of Benes. Initially he defined museology as the science of museums (in Arbeitsgruppe Museologie 1981: 13). In 1981, however, Benes defined the object of museology as: 'a set of specialised activities through which the museum work realizes its social mission' (Benes 1981), later re-phrased as 'the theory of activities and means through which the society, with help of special institutions, chooses, preserves and utilizes authentic objects illustrating the development of nature and human society' (Benes 1986: 45). More recently Benes seems to have adopted Stransky's view of museology (see below).

Bedekar defines museology in a similar direction as mentioned above: 'museology is the professional conceptualization and professional codification of recommended validated procedures to achieve objectives of museum service' (Bedekar 1987). By using the term 'museum service' instead of 'museum activities', Bedekar seems to bridge the concept of Jahn cs and the concept of Gregorova (see below). He rejects the disconnection of museology and museums as 'philosophical speculation or jugglery of words'.

The activity oriented approach has also been expressed by Van Mensch, Pouw & Schouten (1983). Here museology is defined as 'the whole complex of theory and practice involving the caring for and the using of the cultural and natural heritage'. Similarly Deloche states: 'la tache habituelle du muséologie est d'assurer la conservation et la presentation des collections (...), elle determine un ensemble de strategies specifiquement orientées sur l'objet'. Contrary to the East European approaches, in these two approaches the activities are not seen as exclusively implemented within the context of the museum institution In other words: there is also a museology outside museums. In this respect the ideas of Van Mensch/Pouw/Schouten and Deloche also differ from the points of view as expressed by Razgon and Bedekar. Advocating a new approach in museology Sola follows the same line of thought. Museology should concern itself with processes: to collect information about objects, to study them, to assure the durability and quality of the evidence, and to use them for the sake of enriched communication. It must provide us with 'a usable strategy for the totality of the care, protection and communication of the heritage' (Sola 1992: 18). Recently this broad concept has been referred to as heritage studies or, in a more practical sense, heritage management. In addition the term cultural resource management finds more and more acceptance. These terms, and the ideas behind them, come from outside the museum (museological) field. Significantly these terms are not used in the ICOFOM papers, which suggests a certain lack of alertness concerning new trends in the cultural field.

At the ICOFOM 1983 symposium on the methodology of museology some other points of view were expressed. Two authors saw the object of knowledge in museology as only one activity, being collecting (Hodge 1983) or communication (Myles 1983). Myles related this activity exclusively to museums, while Hodge saw the propensity of man to collect natural and man-made objects as a phenomenon that could be encountered outside the museum institution as well. To Hodge the museum is but one manifestation of museology. Libraries, archives, zoological and botanical gardens, and even antique shops are also its manifestations. In Museological Working Papers 1 Swauger also advocated a museology which is based on collecting, collecting being the unique quality of museums. Swauger differs from Hodge in considering museology restricted to museums. An approach similar to those advocated by Hodge and Swauger is found by the Czech museologist Vera Schubertova. She considered as the object of museology the museum phenomenon which is a form of institutionalisation of a tendency to collecting (Schubertova 1979 and 1982).

The function-oriented approach in museology is usually seen as an alternative to the museum-oriented approach. The underlying assumption is that the 'functions' themselves represent some basic tendencies within different societies more direct than their institutional manifestations. The function-based approach, however, tends to focus on practice rather than theory. Museology is thus seen as a systematised set of practical information instead of a science. The museum related functional approach, as, for example, advocated by Schreiner is criticised by Gluzinski (Gluzinski in Grampp et al. 1988). Gluzinski's criticism focuses on the alleged unity of the basic activities concerned. Each activity is in itself a complex process and follows, as such, its own course, leading to different results. In this respect the approach advocated in 1983 by Van Mensch/Pouw/Schouten cannot be satisfactory. 'Research' in the meaning of subject-matter research, should not be considered part of museology. The confusion arose from the fact that the museum institute is still used as general frame of reference. No clear distinction is made between the functions of the museum institute and the functions in museology.

The function oriented approach in museology balances between two levels of abstraction. At the one hand there is a group of authors that consider museology to be the study of a certain set of activities within the context of the museum institute, at the other hand there is a group of authors that studies these activities on a higher abstraction level as expressions of a specific relationship between man and reality. Many authors refer to Stransky as the 'father' of this approach in museology. This point of view has been developed at the end of the 1970s. In 1974 Stransky described the aim of museology as "not to understand this reality [i.e. the concrete and perceivable reality] but to understand the rules of the objective documentation of this reality" (Stransky 1974: 34). In 1980 he defined the object of museology as 'a specific approach of man towards reality the expression of which is the fact that he selects some original objects from the reality, puts them within the new reality for the purpose of their preservation despite the natural character of change that every object undergoes and of the inevitability of decay, and makes use of them in a new way to meet his own demands' (Stransky 1980). This concept of museology became known to a larger public especially through the contribution of Anna Gregorova in Museological Working Papers 1 (Gregorova 1980). Her contribution became one of the most quoted articles at ICOFOM symposia. Her definition of museology is 'a science studying the specific relation of man to reality, consisting in purposeful and systematic collecting and conservation of selected inanimate, material, mobile, and mainly three-dimensional objects, documenting the development of nature and society and making a thorough scientific and cultural-educational use of them'. Gregorova equates this specific relation of man to reality with the museum relation to reality. Although Stransky himself speaks of 'a certain relationship of man to reality as objectified in the museum' (Stransky 1983: 127), he criticises Gregorova for being too museum-limited (Stransky 1981: 21).

Other museologists whose ideas are very much related to Stransky's, or are based on them, are Gluzinski (for example Gluzinski 1983), Carrillo (Carrillo 1988) and Russio (for example Russio 1981 and 1983). In his writings Stransky very often refers to Gluzinski and Russio as museologists holding views similar to his own. Whereas Stransky speaks of museality Gluzinki speaks of 'M-factor' (see below) and Russio of the 'museum fact' ('fait museal') as focus of museological research. Russio defines the museum fact as 'the profound relationship between man, the cognizant subject, and the object, i.e. that part of reality to which man belongs, and over which he has the power to act' (Russio 1981: 56). Elsewhere, Russio has described the phrase 'that part of reality ...' as 'a reality located in an institutionalized setting of the museum', thus in fact restricting the scope of museology (Russio 1989). Although he defines museology as the science of museums, Soichiro Tsuruta describes the possibility of museology as an independent discipline concerned with the relationship between object and man (Tsuruta 1980). In this he appears to be influenced by Stransky. Judith Spielbauer is also one of the museologists whose ideas about museology is influence by the discussion within ICOFOM: 'If museology is the study of and understanding of the process of active, integrative preservation rather than of the museum institution itself, new possibilities arise. In such a concept of museology, "active" is the continuous dynamic interchange between the individual/audience/community and the evidence/ information/ understanding available within a particular museological setting' (Spielbauer 1988: 249). Elsewhere, she has defined museology as: 'the organizational and relational theory of, the accumulating knowledge necessary for, and the methods and methodological framework needed in making preservation an active integrative participant in the human experience' (Spielbauer 1986: 279).

Not influenced by Stransky but close to his concept is Maria de Lourdes Horta, who sees as subject matter of museology the process of cultural memorisation: 'Museology (is) the science to study the collections and recollections of values, processes, ideas and beliefs, rituals and behaviours, material and immaterial products created by societies and preserved in their memories' (Horta 1987). This reflects Edwina Taborsky's view that museum-like institutes deal with the preservation and production of social images and with the generation of knowledge about these social images (Taborsky 1982).

Burcaw considers the extension of the museology concept from a museum oriented approach to a broad man-reality approach a fatal tendency. Commenting on the 1983 paper by Van Mensch/Pouw/Schouten, Burcaw writes: 'I think our Dutch friends go too far (...) I find no usefulness in saying that museums and museum work embraces everything' (Burcaw 1983: 19). Similar criticism is formulated by Schreiner: 'We need a special theory of museology as a help for our practical museum work. First of all we are museologists and not allround-heritageologists!' (Schreiner 1984, unpublished comment). According to Schreiner there is a need to differentiate and to respect the existence of already existing branches of science, like library science and archive science. Desvallees shows an ambivalent attitude. On the one hand he wants to separate museology from archivistics, etc, but on the other he admits that it is difficult to have clear distinctions between categories of objects (Desvallees 1987). So he comes to the same conclusion as Burcaw, who suggests the use of other terms, like material culture studies, rather than retaining the term museology for this broad concept. Such term has been proposed by Sola, who speaks of heritology and mnemosophy.

Museum oriented museologies

This view is most popular among museum workers It has a long tradition. Many participants in the museology discussion refer to the definition of museology as proposed at the UNESCO International Regional Museum Seminar held in Rio de Janeiro (1958). According to this definition museology is a branch of knowledge concerned with the study of the purposes and the organisation of museums. In 1972 a more detailed definition was given by ICOM, considering museology as the study of the history and background of museums, their role in society, specific systems for research, conservation, education, and organisation, relationship with the physical environment, and the classification of different kinds of museums. As such this definition also outlined the scope of most museum training programmes. Not by coincidence those programmes are usually referred to as museum studies rather than museology.

During the 1970s the concept of museology as the science of museums was also the dominant point of view in the German Democratic Republic as well as in Czechoslovakia. The dissertations of Jahn (1978 published in 1979/80) and Schreiner (published in 1982) announced the end of this approach in the German Democratic Republic, while in Czechoslovakia the views of Stransky (Brno) gradually overtook the museum-centred approaches expressed by Neustupny and Benes (Prague).

Most museum oriented museologies represent a narrow empiricism, based on the museum as a functional conglomeration of concrete activities aiming at the preservation and use of objects (Gluzinski 1983: 33). As alternative Gluzinski proposes to focus on the 'museum essence' (the M-factor), which is in the first place 'a matter of meanings which in a system of culture represents all things that make up a museum'. The M-factor refers to the attribution and transmission of (symbolic) values embodied in objects, i.e. the symbolising and communicative behaviour. The former apprehends objects as the symbols of significant classes, the latter builds up from them the message, which in turn becomes the symbol of some reality itself. 'Thus on the one hand, the area of [museological] knowledge would be in the area of sense, and, on the other, the area of specific cultural behaviours, as (...) it is in them that museological phenomena become manifest' (Gluzinski 1983). The museum is seen as a system of such specific cultural behaviours. In this respect Gluzinski's so-called Postulated Museology comes close to Stransky's version of the function oriented approach.

The institute-oriented approach in museology can be considered the intuitive approach belonging to the first stage(s) of the development of the discipline (Stransky 1980: 44). Several authors have made clear that the museum cannot be the object of knowledge since it is only an organisational frame of reference, or - in terms of Jahn - a 'Sekundarprodukt' (Jahn in Arbeitsgruppe Museologie 1981: 49). Museology is based on a concept of museum accepted a priori, while in fact such concept should be the result of museological research. The often used analogy is that pedagogics is not the science of the school and medicine not the science of the hospital. As Sola wrote: there doesn't exist any science as 'school-ology' or 'churchology' neither can their be a 'museum-ology' (Sola 1989). Nevertheless, to optimalise its operations, every museum has to make use of general theoretical principles, just as every school insists on general principles of pedagogic. The criticism echoes Neustupny's point of view already expressed in the 1960s. To Neustupny the museum cannot be a subject of study since it only provides a historically conditioned instrument for the integration of several disciplines. Actually, the institute-oriented approach denies the historicity of the museum phenomenon and its systems of reference. Nevertheless, Burcaw does not agree with this criticism. Being a pragmatist, he believes that each theory should have a 'practical application for the good of man' (Burcaw 1983). Such practical application can easily be found on the level of the museum institute, as Bedekar writes: 'Museology and museums are two names given for the sake of convenience to emphasise two aspects of a single human enterprise' (Bedekar 1987). Bedekar blames museologists like Stransky for the 'persistent effort to divert museums from museology (which) represents tragicomedy of the contemporary museology'.

The pragmatic approach of Burcaw and Bedekar, however, does not meet the objections expressed by Ernst Hofmann. Hofmann points out that the museum-centred approach avoids the real problems, among which the relationship between museology and the subject-matter disciplines (Hofmann 1983). As already shown by Neustupny, Jahn and others, this problem cannot be solved on the level of the museum as institute.

The definition of museology as the science of the museum institute is linked to the definition of the institute itself. Burcaw, defining museology as the study of the museum institute, accepts that the term 'pertains to the contemporary museum as defined by our professional organizations' (Burcaw 1983: 16). As such museology does not 'apply well to the work of private, commercial or non-professional museums today, nor is it really applicable to museum work typical of the past. Furthermore, it cannot be applied with any certainty to museum work of the future'. For the same reason Tomislav Sola rejects the idea of museology as the science of museums since 'the idea of museum is too narrow nowadays to contain all the activities still inclusive within the field of an identical attitude towards the environment and the society, thus the discipline of museology is even clumsier fettered since it only repeats the very same limitation of the basic institution' (Sola in a paper presented at the ICOM 1982 conference, not published). Lynne Teather shares this criticism. When museology is defined on the basis of the museum institute, she states, 'it will be necessary to invent another study or studies to apply to the museum-related institutions' (Teather 1983).


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References

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Notes

[1] The workshop was held May 16-22, 1986 at Berlin and Alt Schwerin (German Democratic Republic). Invited participants were Bellaigue, Carrillo, Decarolis, Desvallees, Gluzinski, Jensen, Van Mensch, Sofka, Sola, Spielbauer, Schreiner, Stransky, Tsuruta and Grote. The preparatory papers (analyses and comments) as well as the final report (compiled by P. van Mensch) were not published. >back<

[2] In his 1975 survey Jensen recognised two major directions in the discussion about the object (or tendency) of knowledge of museology:

In 1981 Benes mentioned four points of view:
    (1) the museum proper ('muzeum'),
    (2) the museum object ('muzealie'),
    (3) museality ('muzealita'), and
    (4) subject matter disciplines ('konkretni disciplina').
In his MuWoP paper (MuWoP 2:11-12) Benes added Stransky's concept of the human-object relationship as fifth point of view. Benes' own point of view (key-word: set of specialised activities) is added as sixth possibility. The list of 1981 is also used by Schreiner & Wecks. Gluzinski distinguished between two types of orientations: the F-type (museum-oriented, mechanistic and instrumental, normative), and the S-type (based on man's relation to reality). The F-type of museology is related to his concept of Real Museology, while the S-type anticipates Postulated Museology.
Hofmann mentioned three main streams in museology:
    (1) museology as the study of the museum institution ('die Gesamtheit der sich in dieser Institution vollziehenden Arbeitsprozesse'),
    (2) museology as the study of museum objects, and
    (3) museology as the study of the specific relation of man to reality as expressed by the term 'museality'.
In a brief survey of the development of museological theory in East European socialist countries - referring in particular to the discussions in the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic and Czechoslovakia - Razgon summarised the diversity of opinions as three distinct concepts:
    (1) the institutional approach,
    (2) the object-oriented approach,
    (3) the human-object relationship approach ('die komplexe Konzeption').
This is in fact the same systematisation as given by Hofmann. In the same publication Razgon described three different views as to the object of museology:
    (1) the definition of the 1964 working party in the German Democratic Republic according to which the totality of museum work is the object of knowledge;
    (2) the opinion of Benes who sees as the object of knowledge 'a set of specialised activities through which the museum work realizes its social mission', and
    (3) the concept developed by Stransky in which the human-object relationship is the core of museology.
It is not clear whether the three concepts, as given in the text, refer to the three views mentioned above. Benes' concept seems to be very close to the one developed by the GDR working party and this point of view does not fit in the tri-partite model. Furthermore it is not clear what is meant as "die komplexe Konzeption". It is assumed that this refers to Stransky's view.
In 1966 Stransky listed following two approaches: museology as the study of museums, and museology as the study of collecting activities. In a lecture for the Reinwardt Academie (1986) Stransky distinguished four orientations as to the 'cognitive intention' of museology:
    (1) the museum,
    (2) museum activities,
    (3) the museum idea (purpose and mission),
    (4) preservation (i.e. the identification of those aspects of reality that, in the interest of society, are to be preserved).
The analysis of museological literature made during ICOFOM's First Museology Workshop (1986) indicated three different lines of approach:
[3] This, and other attempts to discredit Stransky were not successful. Apart from the international prestige of Stransky, he also got the support of some key persons in the museology debate in the German Democratic Republic. In fact Stransky was 'used' as legitimation of an alternative to the dogmatism of Schreiner cs. The journal Neue Museumskunde played an important role in this respect. >back<

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