Museum Temporalities : Time, History and the Future of the Ethnographic Museum book cover
1st Edition

Museum Temporalities
Time, History and the Future of the Ethnographic Museum

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 31, 2022
ISBN 9781350103146
July 31, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $120.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This volume is the first of its kind in focusing on the temporalities of museum work. Wayne Modest, Peter Pels and contributors analyze concerns around the function of museums in relation to time, inquiring whether museums can ever be successful in arresting time or setting themselves outside of time. The chapters look at how museums require a stretching and setting aside of time to exist, as well as how museum practice changes and adapts through time and what this means for a theory of museum work. Moving on from ideas that originate in Enlightenment thought of how museums present a survey of the classifiable universe, Modest and Pels indicate that something in the global exhibitionary complex has changed. This volume therefore puts together a theory and practice of museums that addresses the question of why people need to make the counterfactural effort to render identities and meanings permanent. Divided into five parts, the first part surveys and critiques implicit temporal assumptions and outlines emergent and future temporalities of museum practice. The second part looks in detail at the need for empirical studies of the historical and present-day approach to time, and modernist assumptions in relation to museums today. The third part looks at heterochronia and moves beyond modernist assumptions to consider the negotiation of 'other times', expanding the Western Eurocentric understanding that has dominated studies to date. The fourth part looks at the empirical and conceptual study of the materiality of the museum and as well as the sensory intimacy of museums. Finally the fifth part looks to whether and how museum materials can convey futures, and whose futures are being portrayed.This path-breaking collection centralizes and develops current concerns in critical museology and is a must-read for students of museum studies, anthropology, heritage studies, material culture and ethnography.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Time for the Museum Wayne Modest, Free University Amsterdam, Holland and Peter Pels, Leiden University, The Netherlands Part One: Time, Alterity and Museums 2. Time Isn’t What It Used To Be, or: An Anthropology of Time for Museums Peter Pels, Leiden University, The Netherlands 3. Time and the Object: An Interview with Johannes Fabian Wayne Modest, National Museum of World Cultures; Free University Amsterdam, Holland Part Two: European Time and the Museum 4. The Crisis of Eternity: Canons and Contemporaneity Cecilia Hurley, Ecole du Louvre, Paris; University of Neuchâtel, France 5. “Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going to?” Some Questions about Framing Time in Museums Benoît de L'Estoile, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, CNRS; Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, France Part Three: Heterochronia, or: Entangling with Other-than-European Temporalities 6. Time in Native American Modernist Art Ruth Phillips, Carleton University, USA 7. Curating Indigenous Art in Mexico: possibilities and challenges Genner Llanes-Ortiz, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands 8.The Quintessence of Dust: Carnival Temporality and the Ethnographic Museum Jenny Walklate, University of Leicester, UK9. Museums and the Question of Colonial Time in the CaribbeanWayne Modest, National Museum of World Cultures; VU University Amsterdam, Holland Part Four: Sensing Time, or: Multiple Temporalities of the Museum 10. Renovation, Moving Images, and the Question of Velocity Mary Bouquet, University College Utrecht, Denmark 11. Building Time: the Architecture of Museums and Exhibitions Corinne Kratz, Emory University, USA Part Five: Materiality, Permanence and the Future 12. From dust to dust: the nuances of material impermanence Renata Peters, University College London, UK 13. Stockpiling the Past for an Unpredictable Future: Techniques of Preparedness in Labs and Museums Frédéric Keck, Musée du Quai Branly, France 14. In the Absence of the Material: History, Time and Telos at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, POLIN Museum, Warsaw; New York University, USA 15. Postscript: the Future of the Ethnographic Museum Wayne Modest, Free University Amsterdam, Holland and Peter Pels, Leiden University, The Netherlands Bibliography Index

View More



Wayne Modest is the Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, the Netherlands. He is also a Professor at the Faculty of Humanities at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.Peter Pels is Professor of Anthropology and Sociology of Africa at Leiden University, the Netherlands.