"Fings ain't what they used to be": nostalgia in museums

Denholm, Kate (2010) "Fings ain't what they used to be": nostalgia in museums. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Nostalgia, from the Greek nostos to return home and algia pain, began as a seventeenth century medical condition and now describes a yearning for the recent past that is becoming ever more prevalent in today’s difficult society. This so-called ‘wave of nostalgia’ is reflected in the proliferation of websites, magazines, television programmes and products dedicated to retro and vintage images and ideas, as well as the increasing use of nostalgic images in marketing campaigns. This study addresses some of the reasons for this popularity, which stem primarily from a dissatisfaction with the present and a desire to be surrounded by comforting images from one’s childhood. Using Milestones living history museum as a case study, the project examines the ways that museums are currently nostalgia to benefit both museums and their visitors. Using focus groups, visitors were consulted regarding their experiences at Milestones and their interpretations of nostalgia. Interviews with museum staff revealed that museums make deliberate attempts to foster nostalgic thoughts but that this also occurs unintentionally. Observation of a reminiscence therapy session demonstrates ones of the ways that nostalgia can be used to benefit visitors. The study concludes with practical suggestions of ways in which both living history and traditional museums can use nostalgia, for example, in marketing and advertising, in their collections and exhibition design, through the use of costumed interpreters and historical presentations, and in their shops and cafes.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: ?? EDAM ??
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2011 16:17
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:17
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/1145

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