chapter  11
Cultural pedagogies in the museum: walking, listening and feeling
ByANDREA WITCOMB
Pages 13

In his book the Birth of the Museum, Bennett showed how nineteenth century museums developed particular narratives supported by specific pedagogical strategies – strategies that were developed with the aim of teaching particular types of content to museum visitors. He called these strategies, a ‘pedagogy of walking’ (Bennett 1995). In the nineteenth century museum, he explained, visitors learned by walking along static, linear displays that embodied the dominant evolutionary principles of the day in ways that allowed them to take on the subjectivity of the citizen by virtue of the fact that they were not the ‘other’ they were viewing. While the development of disciplines such as history, geography, archaeology and geology within an evolutionary framework was important to this, so was the belief that seeing evolution in a linear sequence of material objects would at once prove and communicate it. Vision then, was understood in rational terms, which is somewhat different to current understandings of vision as part of a sensorial landscape capable of drawing out affective responses. As Elizabeth Edwards et al. (2011: 7) explain, understanding vision as integral to the domain of rational knowledge and as separate from the domain of sensorial experiences was in itself, integral to colonial perspectives in which the senses were associated with the ‘other’.