This category contains 11 posts

Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum

The holiday weekend has given me a little extra time to go through images from last summer’s midwestern road trip—including the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum. Before much more time passes I thought I should get images up on my Flickr feed and at least make a short post here. The museum is located in … Continue reading

The Egyptian Statue That Looks Like Michael Jackson

Tell me this doesn’t look like him. Many years ago I took a photo of a sculpture in the Egyptian exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum that I thought looked a lot like Michael Jackson. I occasionally insert it into lectures in my museum class to add a moment of levity, but for some time now … Continue reading

Representationally Hacking a “Life Group” at the Royal Ontario Museum

You have a phrase called “Golden Age.” We do not want to be depicted the way were were, when we were first discovered in our homeland in North America. We do not want museums to continue to present us as something from the past. We believe we are very, very much here now, and we … Continue reading

Mummy or Corpse?

For years the Field Museum in Chicago has had the desiccated naked body of a child on display—at child viewing level no less—in their Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit. For over a decade I have used this as an example in lectures in my Museums, Exhibitions and Representations class as an example of the power of museums … Continue reading

The Mini Museum: An Alchemy of Value

How small can an object be and still have value? How can a valuable object be fragmented to the point of destruction—where each individual piece is so small as to be nearly valueless—and yet when collected together with other basically valueless fragments become something completely different—something more valuable? The formula is a strange alchemy of … Continue reading’s Cheeky Response to the Parthenon Marbles Controversy

If you want to see the Parthenon, you go to the Athenian Acropolis. If you want to see the sculptures, however, you have to go to the British Museum. For two hundred years this has been one of the most visible legacies of the “Age of Imperial Collection.” (Of course nearly every museum has objects … Continue reading

Yungang Grottoes: The Missing Pieces Meet The Big Holes

Oh, I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece Hi-dee-ho, here I go lookin’ for my missin’ piece –The Missing Piece (Shel Silverstein, 1976) This afternoon I was doing some cataloging of images when I came across a folder from a few years back. In it I found a few photos … Continue reading

The Mona Lisa: Art in the Age of Digital Consumption

The Mona Lisa is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable images in the world. Perhaps second only to the Eiffel Tower, it is an icon of the tourist experience of Paris. So, when we arrived at the Louvre with thousands of other tourists, of course, the first thing we did was go to see it. I … Continue reading

Jinling Buddhist Publishing House (金陵刻经处)

This morning I was invited by some of the folks that have been helping me with my research to go on a trip to visit the Jinling Buddhist Publishing House (jinling kejing chu) in downtown Nanjing. I can’t really say that I am that interested in ancient Buddhist texts, but I was looking forward to … Continue reading

Remembering Culture at the Terracotta Warrior Museum

In my early twenties, when becoming an anthropology professor was still a far off aspiration, I spent a few years as a tour guide leading groups to China for Pacific Delight Tours.  Experience as a guide on the front lines of the culture industry in the early years of China’s Post-Mao development provided me with … Continue reading


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