Articles on Museums

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Popular in the 18th century were events at which mummies were dissected by doctors and passed around the audience to be touched, smelt and tasted. Mummymania installation view. Jodie Hutchinson

Mummies have had a bad wrap – it’s time for a reassessment

Egyptian mummies have fascinated Europeans since the 5th century, but a new exhibition considers the more recent role they have played in medicine, art and popular culture – and the ethics of their display in museums.
Khayamiya or Egyptian Tentmaker Applique provides a memorable introduction to Islamic art. Photo by Timothy Crutchett Charles Sturt University

The invisibility of Islamic art in Australia

Islamic art in Australia is inaccessible and largely overlooked. It is rarely taught as a dedicated subject in Australian universities, and almost never seen beyond state capitals. Why?
Projects funded by the Australia Council sustain a much larger network of arts organisations, including university arts museums. Ted Snell/Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Australia Council changes will also affect university museums

The transformation of arts funding in Australia won't just affect grant recipients, it will disrupt the ecology of the arts – as the potential impact on university art museums demonstrates.
What do collections of dead butterflies do for their still-living counterparts? Andrew D Warren

Why we still collect butterflies

The dead animal specimens that comprise natural history collections contribute a lot toward scientific understanding of their still-living counterparts – and those that have gone extinct.
A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry. Diego Rivera, 1932. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit, 1932: when Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo came to town

A new exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts highlights a controversial mural commissioned during a period fraught with social unrest.
Drawings by male warriors – like Black Hawk’s ‘Dream or Vision or Himself Changed to a Destroyer or Riding a Bufalo Eagle (1880-1881)’ – often depicted visions perceived during meditation and fasting. New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum/John Bigelow Taylor

From the Great Plains, Native American masterpieces emerged

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates 2,000 years of artistic achievement.
A 1893 self-portrait of the French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Wikimedia Commons

How computer science was used to reveal Gauguin’s printmaking techniques

Artist Paul Gauguin is perhaps most famous for his colorful paintings of Tahitian life. But for years, art historians puzzled over his lesser-known prints: how did he form, layer and transfer images from one medium to another?
Ancient artefacts in the Archaeological Museum in Mosul in northern Iraq have been destroyed by ISIS. Screen shot via YouTube.

ISIS is destroying ancient artefacts to send a message of intent

Ancient artefacts in the Archaeological Museum in Mosul in northern Iraq have been destroyed by ISIS in recent days, behaviour that forms part of a pattern. The question is why.
Graham Beal led the Detroit Institute of Arts through the city’s financial crisis. Les Ward

Rescuing Detroit’s art museum: an interview with director Graham Beal

Graham Beal, the Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, recently announced that he will be retiring after fifteen years at the helm. Two of his achievements particularly stand out. The first is his…

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