What is a ‘Museoscope’?

Things with ‘scope’ at the end of their name are all about looking, exploring and understanding. These things use arrangements of lenses or mirrors to help us see things we wouldn’t otherwise see. Microscopes are for looking at tiny things, telescopes for looking at far away things.

Things with ‘scope’ at the end of their name can also be optical toys that allow us to play with the ways that we see the world. Kaleidoscopes use toblerone-like tubes of mirrors to create patterns from coloured fragments of glass, phenakistoscopes use spinning wheels and mirrors to animate still pictures.

So a Museoscope is something we use for exploring, playing, and trying to understand. But what is especially fun, is it can be both a thing (lens?) that allows us to look at museums; and also the museum itself (mirror?), that allows us to look back at the world.

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Who Am I?

My name is Elee Kirk, and I am currently based in Leicester, UK, where I am in the final stages of a PhD in Museum Studies, exploring young children’s experiences in a natural history museum. Prior to that, I worked for eight years in science museum education in Birmingham and Leeds.

My research uses digital photographs taken by 4- and 5-year-old children as a way of getting their perspective on the museum. So I’m interested in perspectives, and in the relationships between museums and people.

This blog will draw partly on my research, partly on the work that I’m continuing to do in museums, partly on the many visits that I make to museums, and partly on conversations that I have with people in and outside of museums.

You can find out more about my academic work on my university web page, and about my freelance museum work at eleekirk.com. You can also follow me on twitter.

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