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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum

A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum

(p.393) 27 A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum
Classics in the Modern World

Susan Walker

Oxford University Press

The redevelopment of the Ashmolean Museum in the University of Oxford, UK, opened in 2009, has vastly increased the numbers and social range of the museum’s visitors. In this chapter the museum’s efforts to reach out to new visitors are considered with reference to the funding and management of the building redevelopment project, the development of an integrated display concept and the use of interactive and other devices for engaging the visitors’ interest in the collections. The current display concept of ‘Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time’ is explained with a focus on the narrative potential of the Ashmolean’s exceptionally rich archival resources. The redevelopment is set in the context of the longer history of the Ashmolean, which first opened its doors to the public in 1683. Problems of lighting and labelling are explored, and the impact of visitors’ responses is evaluated.

Keywords:   museum, project management, design, display, building history

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