Exploring the Inherent Conflicts of the Site Museum

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The term site museum refers to a particular kind of museum built on or near a historical or natural site with the goal of preserving and interpreting the site and its excavations. This study is an early exploration of the inherent conflicts of the site museum, which have not been discussed much in existing studies. These conflicts are believed to exist in all site museums. Some are considered unique to the site museum, and others are more severe than those in other museums. The causes of these conflicts could be divided into three main types: the site characteristics, mainly including immovability, location, scale, materials, and conservation; the architectural characteristics of the site museum, such as architectural foundations, enclosure, architectural forms, and permanence; and the institutional characteristics of the site museum, which are collections, exhibitions, and museum powers. The conflicts they have caused are challenging the appropriateness of the way site museums are built. The study argues that these conflicts could not be eliminated but only mitigated partially. Some mediation methods are further discussed in the planning, architectural design, exhibition design, and operation levels.