Dinah Casson's book Closed on Mondays: Behind the Scenes at theMuseum, is a collection of reflections on museums and exhibitions and how visitors interact with them, based on thirty years spent as a museum designer.
Dinah admits that one of the purposes of the book is to encourage visitors to be more critical and curious about gallery installations.The craft of the exhibition designer is so often invisible. As people enjoy wandering through exhibits, few consider the thought, decisions and the choices that lie behind what they see. In fact, visitors do not think about design at all, unless they happen to trip up over a mistake – why should they?
Why do so few museums allow us to look out of a window? Why are we so suspicious of facsimiles? Why do we expect to remove our coats in the cinema but not in the museum? Why do people collect stuff anyway? These are some of the questions – in both designers’ and visitors’ minds - that the book sets out to answer.
Dinah’s book is not a biography of Casson Mann, the work of the practice, but many of the topics were triggered by Casson Mann projects and some appear as illustrations.
In its comments and analysis, Behind the Scenes promises to open visitors’ eyes to the museum, to see that it can be design that makes museums more interesting, enjoyable and successful.
The craft of the exhibition designer is so often invisible. As people enjoy wandering through exhibits, few consider the thought, decisions and the choices that lie behind what they see.