University of Leicester
2020SermcheepAPhD.pdf (3.7 MB)

London Transport posters: from publicity materials to museum exhibits

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posted on 2021-03-17, 15:10 authored by Amornchat Sermcheep
This PhD thesis traces the museum’s repurposing of publicity posters into museum exhibits from a material cultural perspective. Its aim is to understand how the values and meanings of advertising materials transform as their functions and purposes are altered. In so doing, this thesis employs object itineraries as the theoretical framework, using the London Transport Museum’s collection as a case study.
This thesis argues that the values and meanings of London Transport posters change but each point in the transformation is integrally connected to one another. Through the examination of the purposes and narratives of poster exhibitions and the curating process, the change and connection in values and meanings are manifested at both the visual and material levels, such as within a poster design as well as across different material forms.
By examining the criteria for selecting London Transport posters for display and their materialities, this thesis also reveals the diversity of the material forms bearing a single poster design and provides insight into the impact of object materialities, especially their multiplicity, on both collection management and exhibition making.
Further, this thesis engages the primary data with debates about the notions of object originality and authenticity. It argues that museums interact with original objects in certain ways in order to maintain, manifest and highlight the authenticity of these objects. This is mainly to serve the museum’s knowledge shaping purpose. Despite that, this thesis concludes that museums should not consider themselves superior to material objects. Instead, the thesis proposes a view of museums as space for human-thing interactions.
Overall, while focussing on advertising materials, the research provides new insight into the nature of museum objects more generally as well as humans’ interactions with them. This thesis therefore contributes to various material culture-related academic domains including critical museum studies, anthropology and archaeology.



Sandra H. Dudley

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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