Reframing African Art
The introduction presents a model for the study of museums. Museums large and small, from grand international and national museums to heritage sites and local galleries, may be examined using a nodal model. Nodes are ideal types based on the organization, goals, and outreach activities of museums at different stages. The chapter outlines five nodal types: the curiosity cabinet, the small gallery space, large edifice modernist museums, postmodern museums, and virtual assemblages. Seismic and gradual institutional shifts occur as museums move across nodes. At a given transformational node, museums may atrophy, disrupt, or disappear giving rise to alternative institutional configurations. Museums of African art in the future have the potential to become nodal sites of excavation and exploration where the past, present, and future collide.
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