Exploring the Middle Ground between the Traditional and the Reformed Museum: A Study of the Re-Profiling Project at Vänersborg‟s Museum
The main focus of this dissertation is discussions regarding change in museums. Here, I examine and problematize attitudinal shifts present in discussions regarding for instance, definitions of museums and their function in society; audiences, perceptions of museum collections and objects; accessibility and perceptions of knowledge production. The debate tends to become polarized and thus, inefficient. In this thesis, I argue for a balance and a perspective which involves opening up for and accepting variety as well as the specific in museums. This is discussed in relation to Vänersborg‟s Museum, a unique museum which recently underwent a re-profiling process and which is currently implementing the new approaches and ways of thinking as a result of this. I have reviewed the result of this project and examined it in the light of the current discussions regarding change and furthermore, attempted to demonstrate that characteristics of the traditional museum can be combined and coexist with characteristics of the reformed museum. Graham Black‟s „model‟ for a holistic museum in the 21st century involves ideas appropriate to the situation of Vänersborg‟s Museum. This approach focuses on keeping the core products, site, collections and associated expertise of the museum uncompromised whilst keeping the tangible and intangible elements of the museum dynamic and flexible.