Museumisation of the Contemporary
Funded by the German Research Association (DFG)
Museumisation of the contemporary, the collection of current material culture, can be interpreted as prospective historicisation. This project from the perspective of contemporary history aims to analyse the collection strategies of historical museums as the construction of historiographical source within the context of time and society.
Historical museums build their collections as cultural heritage that, in future, will comprise the material foundations for public memory. Traditionally, museums collect objects that are believed to be on the verge of vanishing, but in recent years they increasingly turn their attention to contemporary material culture. This change in perspective corresponds with a tendency in contemporary history to see current developments as future history. Referring to these tendencies, the project will analyse collecting as ‘making history’. How do museums deal with the challenges of collecting the contemporary and what are the consequences for collection strategies and practices? Which topics are seen as relevant and what are the processes of interpretation and the consequences within the museum? Is systematic or accidental collecting performed and what are the criteria of collection-building? Which academic disciplines are referred to and what can contemporary historians expect to find in museum collections when tempted to use material culture as evidence?
Within the project, concepts and practices of collecting the contemporary are analysed in national, local and special museums in Germany and abroad.
Dr. Andreas Ludwig
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
Office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 2.30
Email: ludwig [at] zzf-potsdam.de