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Using object biographies to understand the curation crisis: lessons learned from the museum life of an archaeological collection
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9196-2106
2019 (English)In: Museum Management and Curatorship, ISSN 0964-7775, E-ISSN 1872-9185, Vol. 34, no 4, p. 362-382Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 Valsgarde 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD , 2019. Vol. 34, no 4, p. 362-382
Keywords [en]
Curation crisis, archaeology, object biography, museum, collections
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-393538DOI: 10.1080/09647775.2019.1612270ISI: 000479175400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-393538DiVA, id: diva2:1353836
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 340-2012-5751Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-09-24Bibliographically approved

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