Des choses dans les musées : mutations et permutations sémiotiques

The contemporary museum, which is the guardian of a society’s heritage, is now also a cultural business dedicated to the promotion of their collections, their activities and its image. As such, museums often develop very subtle strategies for their exhibitions and their communication with the public, leading to a shift in the object’s status. This study shows how the traditional discrimination between collectible objects or exhibits and the objects dedicated to adjuvant or logistical functions is abolished, gathering them all into a vast reservoir of signs at the service of the museum’s global discourse assigning a particular status to their object, depending on semiotic and communicational requirement. Based on a typology of the object developed from the notion of expôt (Pomian, 1994), this study uses examples such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.