Spatial analysis of the heritage of Mei Ho House museum : a social semiotic study

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Spatial analysis of the heritage of Mei Ho House museum : a social semiotic study

 

Author: Chung, Ngan Ying
Title: Spatial analysis of the heritage of Mei Ho House museum : a social semiotic study
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2015
Subject: Semiotics -- Social aspects.
Modality (Linguistics)
Historic house museums -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: 97 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2823725
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8092
Abstract: This research project seeks to explore how museum communicates with visitors through its three-dimensional space. Space in the museum plays a unique role to realize meaning potentials and convey curatorial intents to visitors. The distinctiveness lies in its omnipresent nature of existence which brings in the visitors as an integral part of the semiosis (Martin and Stenglin, 2007). Spatial configuration can make a significant difference in the museum experience of visitors (Hiller and Tzortzi, 2006). This study focuses on the analysis of the Heritage of Mei Ho House (HMHH) museum in Hong Kong. Drawing upon the theory of systemic functional linguistics developed by Halliday (1978, 1985a/1994), social semioticians such as O'Toole (1994), Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996/2006), Van Leeuwen (2005), Ravelli (2000, 2006), Pang (2004) and Stenglin (2004, 2009a, 2009b) extended the theoretical framework to the mode of space/architecture. By utilizing various semiotic tools developed by these scholars, this project investigates how ideational, interpersonal and textual meanings are (co-)articulated in three-dimensional space of the museum. Text analysis is adopted with photos and video shots (filmic representations) displayed as spatial texts for exploration of various meaning-making processes. Rich and multi-layered meanings are unveiled through in-depth analysis of the organization of space in the HMHH museum. The meaning potentials converge and resonate with the museum's mission of conserving historical and cultural heritage as well as educating the public, especially the younger generations, about the lives of grass-root Hong Kong people in the 1950s to 1980s, their resilience of fighting adversity and the core values of love and care for families, neighbours and the wider community. This project is concluded by suggesting diversification of spatial arrangements to enrich the enactment of meanings and further enhance the versatility of spatial experiences of visitors.

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