Photographs ©Gideon Barnett
The International Council of Museums defines a museum as “a permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment, for the purposes of education, study, and enjoyment.”
From 2008 through 2009 I photographed over 120 museums and visitor centers in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.
Gideon Barnett was born in 1982 in Jasper, Tennessee. He holds a BA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago and a MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art. In 2011 he received the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. He currently lives and works in Miami, Florida.
Gideon Barnett proves that you’re going to find some strange artifacts in American museums, not to mention visitor centers. It’s interesting to think about what we choose to preserve and how bizarre some of those objects must look like to visitors from outside the culture. The same probably holds true for American visiting museums and such in places like Mexico and Japan and Lithuania.