Accepted paper:

The storeroom as promise: the discovery of the ethnological museum depot as a political space in the 1970s

Authors:

Thomas Thiemeyer (Universität Tübingen)

Paper short abstract:

This talk is about an exhibition format that I call depot exhibition. Depot exhibitions are museum presentations that turn the depot into their subject matter (the so called visible storage is the most well-known variant). This approach has a current appeal especially in German speaking countries.

Paper long abstract:

This talk is about an exhibition format that I call depot exhibition. Depot exhibitions are museum presentations that turn the depot into their subject matter (the so called visible storage is the most well-known variant). This approach has a current appeal especially in German speaking countries. Actually, it is not new. Its appearance in the 1970s is closely connected with post-colonial debates and coincided with a controversial sociopolitical discourse in which the concept of the depot promised to solve central problems of a particular type of museum that had fallen into the crossfires of criticism: the ethnological museum. I will argue that the idea of the depot exhibition diffused into other types of museums because it made promises that concerned museums as a whole. It is at the root of a reflexive museum praxis that today has captured museums of all kinds and is distinguished by self-criticism and the relinquishment of authority.

panel Mat05
Dwelling(s): museum practice meets ethnology