The success of internet auction sites like eBay and the cult status of public television's Antiques Roadshow attest to the continued popularity of collecting in American culture. Acts of Possession investigates the ways cultural meanings of collections have evolved and yet remained surprisingly unchanged throughout American history.
Drawing upon the body of theoretical work on collecting and focusing on individual as opposed to museum collections, the contributors investigate how, what, and why Americans have collected and explore the inherent meanings behind systems of organization and display. Essays consider the meanings of Thomas Jefferson's Indian Hall at Monticello; the pedagogical theories behind nineteenth-century children's curiosity cabinets; collections of Native American artifacts; and the ability of the owners of doll houses to construct meaning within the context of traditional ideals of domesticity.
The authors also consider some darker aspects of collecting-hoarding, fetishism, and compulsive behavior-scrutinizing collections of racist memorabilia and fascist propaganda. The final essay posits the serial killer as a collector, an investigation into the dangerous objectification of humans themselves.
By bringing fresh, interdisciplinary critical perspectives to bear on these questions, Dilworth and her coauthors weave a fascinating cultural history of collecting in America.
The coauthors of this theoretically innovative work explore the relationships among anthropological fieldwork, museum collecting and display, and social governance in the early twentieth century in Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, and the United States. With case studies ranging from the Musée de l'Homme's 1930s fieldwork missions in French Indo-China to the influence of Franz Boas's culture concept on the development of American museums, the authors illuminate recent debates about postwar forms of multicultural governance, cultural conceptions of difference, and postcolonial policy and practice in museums. Collecting, Ordering, Governing is essential reading for scholars and students of anthropology, museum studies, cultural studies, and indigenous studies as well as museum and heritage professionals.
The East India Marine Society Museum was one of the most influential collecting institutions in nineteenth-century America. From 1799 to 1867, when Salem, Massachusetts, was a premier American port and launching pad for international trade, the museum’s collection developed at a nexus of global exchange, with donations of artwork, crafts, and flora and fauna pouring in from distant ports of call. At a time when the country was filled with Barnum-esque exhibitions, visitors to this museum could circumnavigate the globe and gain an understanding of the world and their place within it.
Collecting the Globe presents the first in-depth exploration of the East India Marine Society Museum, the precursor to the internationally acclaimed Peabody Essex Museum. Offering fresh perspectives on museums in the United States before the Civil War and how they helped shape an American identity, George H. Schwartz explores the practices of collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting a diversity of international objects and art in the early United States.
Collecting the Weaver's Art
Laurie D. Webster Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress E99.N3W43 2003 | Dewey Decimal 746.14089972
This is the first publication on a remarkable collection of sixty-six outstanding Pueblo and Navajo textiles donated to the Peabody Museum in the 1980s by William Claflin, Jr., a prominent Boston businessman, avocational anthropologist, and patron of Southwestern archaeology. Claflin bequeathed to the museum not only these beautiful textiles, but also his detailed accounts of their collection histories—a rare record of the individuals who had owned or traded these weavings before they found a home in his private museum. Textile scholar Laurie Webster tells the stories of the weavings as they left their native Southwest and traveled eastward, passing through the hands of such owners and traders as a Ute Indian chief, a New England schoolteacher, a renowned artist, and various military officers and Indian agents. Her concise overview of Navajo and Pueblo weaving traditions is enhanced by the reflections of noted artist and Navajo textile expert Tony Berlant in his foreword to the text.
In 1759 the British Museum opened its doors to the public—the first free national museum in the world. James Delbourgo recounts the story behind its creation through the life of Hans Sloane, a controversial luminary with an insatiable ambition to pit universal knowledge against superstition and few curbs on his passion for collecting the world.
This book traces the psychology, history and theory of the compulsion to collect, focusing not just on the normative collections of the Western canon, but also on collections that reflect a fascination with the "Other" and the marginal – the ephemeral, exotic, or just plain curious.
There are essays on the Neoclassical architect Sir John Soane, Sigmund Freud and Kurt Schwitters, one of the masters of collage. Others examine imperialist encounters with remote cultures – the consquitadors in America in the sixteenth century, and the British in the Pacific in the eighteenth – and the more recent collectors of popular culture, be they of Swatch watches, Elvis Presley memorabilia or of packaging and advertising.
With essays by Jean Baudrillard, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Nicholas Thomas, Mieke Bal, John Forrester, John Windsor, Naomi Schor, Susan Stewart, Anthony Alan Shelton, John Elsner, Roger Cardinal and an interview with Robert Opie.
In early twentieth-century Berlin, Wilhelm von Bode sparked a controversy with his sweeping proposal to reorganize a group of the city’s museums. Debates about the role and structure of museums played out in 1907 and 1910 with two striking series of articles that appeared in the journal Museumskunde: Journal for the Administration and Technology of Public and Private Collections. The first was a six-part essay by Otto Lauffer on history museums, and the second was a ten-part piece by Oswald Richter regarding ethnographic museums. Together, they initiated a century of significant dialogue.
The Museum in the Cultural Sciences offers the first full English translations of these articles, which remain influential in conversations about the implications of art, historical, and ethnographic museums. They show how sophisticated the discussion of museums and museum display was in the early twentieth century and how much could be gained from revisiting these reflections today. Accompanied by short commentaries from museum professionals, these articles offer an intervention into and intensification of the current debate about the function and purpose of museums.
The concept of eccentricity was central to how people in the nineteenth century understood their world. This monograph is the first scholarly history of eccentricity. Carroll explores how discourses of eccentricity were established to make sense of individuals who did not seem to fit within an increasingly organized social and economic order. She focuses on the self-taught natural philosopher William Martin, the fossilist Thomas Hawkins and the taxidermist Charles Waterton.
Explore the storied history of this grand Wisconsin treasure – the Wisconsin Historical Society, older than the state itself. From the Society’s earliest days as pioneers worked to record history even as it was happening, to its struggles to weather the Great Depression, and its landmark efforts to record the most important social and political movements of our times. From its very start, the Society has worked to “treasure up” the stories of people from every walk of life, in every corner of the state. The story behind the Wisconsin Historical Society is a uniquely Wisconsin story – one that belongs to all who call Wisconsin home.