Thinking about Objects

Written by Susannah Eckersley,
Lecturer in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies,
Newcastle University.

Objects are the things which humans gather, create, collect, use and discard according to their material, functional and psychological needs at any given point in time. An object which is essential one day, may become useless the next. At the same time, an object with no obvious practical function may be considered by some to be more valuable than one which is used every day. Objects are therefore both simple but also highly complex parts of human life. An individual object can be at once sign and symbol for different people and different purposes so its meaning and value under any one of these categories may be contested.

View the full text and thinking exercises for Objects here.