Performing the Museum

Charles R. Garoian
Performing the Museum

Courtesy of Alexey Narodizkiy

This article characterizes the relationship between the museum and its visitors as a dialogic process that enables a play between the public narratives of the museum and the private narratives of the viewers. The museum is presented as a performative site where its dominant socially and historically constructed pedagogy engages in a critical dialogue with the viewer's memories and cultural histories. Five pedagogical strategies are provided to comprise a critical performative pedagogy in museums: performing perception, autobiography, museum culture, interdisciplinarity, and performing the institution. These strategies represent a comprehensive museum pedagogy that enables visitors to experience and understand the museum's collections and exhibitions from their respective cultural perspectives.