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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2010

Revisiting museum strategy: Mona Lisa's new smile

Emmanuel Coblence


Art museums have for some years experienced a major shift in management methods. Whereas museums are often described as secular institutions, reluctant to innovation and devoted initially to the preservation of cultural heritage, they recently entered a new era where management has become critical to support their future. Emergent managerial practices have prompted a significant amount of research, most of which characterizes a new age for the large museum, the competition paradigm: these accounts frame the contemporary museum trend as being one in which globalisation, economic value creation and pressures for income building. This article argues that these accounts of museums' strategies are somehow restrictive and incomplete. It builds on a design perspective of management to give an alternative account of the historical and contemporary transformations. Museums' genealogy shows that these organisations face a shift from traditional rule-based approach to more innovative design methods, which profoundly destabilizes curatorship and traditional organisations. The paper is based on empirical evidence within a large art museum, the Louvre, which implements considerable efforts to seek this form of design-driven innovation, especially by undertaking an R&D on art display. It argues that museums are currently engaging in a creative process aimed at forging new meanings and renewing the symbolic value of their main product: exhibition and collection display; exploring new valorisations appears at the forefront of museum strategy.
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Dates et versions

hal-00498619 , version 1 (08-07-2010)


  • HAL Id : hal-00498619 , version 1


Emmanuel Coblence. Revisiting museum strategy: Mona Lisa's new smile. Academy of Management (AOM) Annual Meeting, 2010, Montréal, Canada. ⟨hal-00498619⟩
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