Museum objects and complexity

Conservators have traditionally been associated with the quarantine process. Can they reposition themselves as the ones who support integration and create conditions that are quite safe?

museum geek

Being in the first six months of my PhD, I am still in the reading/learning/planning stages of my research. This means that I’m spending a lot of time looking at how other people have been approaching the field, and I’ve noticed a number of people working in the museum technology area are utilising complexity theory to inform their work (see Fiona Cameron and Sarah Mengler Complexity, Transdisciplinarity and Museum Collections Documentation: Emergent Metaphors for a Complex World from the Journal of Material Culture 2009 for an example).

My initial reading into the area has led me to some interesting thoughts. According to John H. Miller and Scott E. Page, one of the things that makes a system complex, rather than merely complicated, is that the system cannot be reduced to a simple form for study. They illustrate the point, using the following example:

When a scientist faces a complicated…

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