Themes, Thoughts, Reflections
To arrive at some concluding thoughts for a volume that is so large, so varied and so complex seemed both foolhardy and essential — not a good combination. Yet not to have done so would have been to draw attention to the inherent weakness of such collections, which is that they are rarely able to arrive at cogent conclusions. But, if we put ‘cogent’ on one side and leave that to the reader to decide, we can at least make a stab at concluding this colossus with some thoughts worth taking away. With this in mind, we would like to focus on what we see as the key themes of the very large amount of work dedicated to this book by its many contributors. Thus, we have alighted on three ‘closing aspects’ that are designed to achieve the essential tasks of summarizing where heritage research is now and where it might go in the future. These aspects are: an anxious celebration of eclecticism and diversity; an urge towards the critical; and, finally, a degree of contemplative frustration at the continued lack of any particular theoretical momentum at the heart of our field. While we acknowledge that few readers will have read this book from cover to cover and arrived here exhausted but hopefully fulfilled, we do intend that these closing aspects will at least provide, as any good book should, both a moment of reflection and a call to further action.
KeywordsInherent Weakness Museum Visitor Good Book Critical Imagination Heritage Study
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