This book is a welcome addition to material culture and museum/heritage studies.[...] A tightly articulated set of guiding questions (around care, emotion and collections) tie the various threads together. By focusing on the emotional response and caring practices of museum professionals and external stakeholders working with stored collections (and especially with objects considered by others to be ‘dull’ or ‘uninteresting’), a range of sub-themes are addressed including curatorial practice, expertise, knowledge, ownership and value.[...]
By arguing for material culture and museum/heritage studies to pay much greater theoretical and empirical attention to stored collections (in ways that go beyond understanding these simply through the lens of collections management issues), the book ultimately demonstrates how ‘unloved’ collections provide a rich nexus for wider debate on themes such as expertise and public agency, the politics of participatory heritage, concepts of care and affective, emotional modes of heritage engagement. In sum, this is a nicely written and illustrated book which offers a stimulating and original take on museum collections.
~Jennie Morgan, Science Museum Group Journal 15 (Spring 2021), online
[T]he authors grapple with [...] the affective and meaning-making encounters that occur between expert users (curators, collectors, specialist groups, retired practitioners) and objects in storage. The phrase “unloved” was chosen by the editors as a provocation—exactly which museum objects garner this title is malleable, but they are generally stored collections which have been “deemed uninteresting” or have “little or no personal meaning.” [...] Perhaps more than any other type of collection, the “unloved” object seems to cry out for a radical intervention—to be touched, researched, rummaged, shared, and loved by collectors, artists, and community groups. While staying “in the lines” of traditional museum practice, Exploring Emotion nevertheless provides useful practical and theoretical tools for finding new ways to work with collections in storage.
~Kristin D. Hussey, Museum Worlds: Advances in Research 9 (2021): 215–23