Physical and Epistemic Objects in Museum Conservation Risk Management

  • Erica Coslor
Part of the Technology, Work and Globalization book series (TWG)


Conservation risk management in museums is introduced as a type of managerial technique, highlighting the utility of object-focused approaches. This chapter interweaves techniques of material culture studies, sociology of knowledge and science and technology studies to think about two distinct types of objects in museums: the cultural and historical objects of the collections, as well as the epistemic knowledge objects that contribute to management practice. This theoretical approach provides a foundation for ethnographic research focusing on actual practice. With the example of objects in museum conservation risk management, I highlight the transformations of objects in their trajectory into systems. The chapter also provides a methodological review of research steps for ethnographic research using a ‘follow the object’ approach for ethnographic research in museums and more broadly.


Risk management Museums Artefacts Cultural and historical objects Epistemic knowledge objects Ethnographic methods Follow the object 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Coslor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management & MarketingUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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