The Role of Design History in the Museology of Computing Technology

ATKINSON, Paul (2018). The Role of Design History in the Museology of Computing Technology. In: MORET, Oriol, (ed.) Back to the Future : The Future in the Past. Conference Proceedings Book. Barcelona, Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 464-468.

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The role of design history in museums devoted to the history of technics and technology is surely to ensure that the narratives employed describe the wide range of drivers behind the development of technological artefacts in an unbiased way, and ideally, to communicate as accurately as possible the different ways in which technology has been presented to and received by the public. Using the example of the electronic computer, this paper aims to demonstrate the problematic breadth of the different narrative themes necessary to achieve such communication. This paper concentrates on three of the most common types of narrative employed in museums of technology – the interrelated narratives of individual endeavour, national agendas and corporate competition. Following these ‘traditional’ narratives is a description and examples of a wider, contextual discourse in which technology has been presented in equal parts as heralding both a utopian and a dystopian future for mankind. It is argued that in order to present a thorough and meaningful history of technological objects, these different narratives need to be addressed in a balanced and nuanced way.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Museology; Electronic computers; Narrative Frameworks; Analytical Perspectives
Page Range: 464-468
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2019 11:08
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 07:03

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