Museum Curators - Connecting the city’s past, present, and future

City Museums are unique institutions to discover, debate and negotiate the meaning of the city. They help to 'decode’ and 'recode' our perceptions by revealing not only how cities change physically over time, but how they are experienced in different ways at different moments. The senses play an important part in the experiential world of the city outside and inside the museums. Their role has been increasingly recognised across the museum world. While vision long dominated museum curation, touch, sound, and smell have been re-integrated to create a more participatory and inclusive experiences through physical recreations, analogue ‘hands on experiences’, new technologies and reflexive exhibitions. This section focuses on how museums can link the urban past, present and future through the senses. The first part explores how to mediate the urban past as a sensory experience in a reflexive way; the second contains methods to record the senses of the present for the future; third, we reflect on how the senses can enable debate about the future of the city as a public space. The section on sensory education contains further exercises and questions that can be used in a museum context.

Literature suggestions:

Past: Researching and representing the senses historically

The importance of historical thinking and methodology for understanding the role of the senses ...

Present: Preserving the Urban Sensorium

As the place who will represent the city’s present as the future’s past, how then can city museums contribute to recording ...

Future: Co-curating the City

Working with the senses involves a project of translation: moving from fieldwork findings, to academic papers or policy reports ...