Using object biographies to understand the curation crisis: Lessons learned from the museum life of an archaeological collection

Zanna Friberg, Isto Huvila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The challenges related to the management of an increasing number of often poorly documented orphaned archaeological museum collections, described in literature as a curation crisis, are growing. This article proposes that writing collection-level object biographies (referring to the notion of Kopytoff) provides a means to generate useful insights into the longue duree of curatorial processes and to understand how curation crises emerge, how to avoid them, and how to manage orphaned, poorly documented and unorganised collections. The potential of using object biographies as a means to tackle the curation crisis is demonstrated through a study of the life history of the Valsgärde collection housed at Gustavianum - Uppsala University Museum relating to a well-known and often-cited archaeological site with the same name. It traces the management and use of the collection and scrutinises the causes and consequences of the problems of curating and making available archaeological collections.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1–22
JournalMuseum Management and Curatorship
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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