Museums as Cultures of Copies : The Crafting of Artefacts and Authenticity book cover
1st Edition

Museums as Cultures of Copies
The Crafting of Artefacts and Authenticity

ISBN 9780367663292
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

Few institutions are warier of copies than museums. Few fields of knowledge are more prone to denounce copies as fake than the heritage field. Few discourses are as concerned with authenticity, aura, originals and provenance as those concerning exhibiting and collecting. So why is it that these are institutions, fields and discourses where copies proliferate and copying techniques have thrived for hundreds of years? Museums as Cultures of Copies aims to make the copying practices of museums visible and to discuss, from a range of interrelated perspectives, precisely what function copies fulfil in the heritage field and in museums today.

With contributions from Europe and Canada, the book interrogates the meaning of copies and presents copying as a fully integrated part of museum work. Including chapters on ethnographic mannequins, digitalized photos, death masks, museum documentation and mechanical models, contributors consider how copying as a cultural form changes according to time and place and how new forms of copying and copy technologies challenge and expand museum work today. Arguing that copying is at the basis of museum practice and that new technologies and practices have been taken up and developed in museums since their inception, the book presents both heritage work and copies in a new light.

Museums as Cultures of Copies should be of great interest to academics, scholars and postgraduate students working in the fields of museum and heritage studies, as well as visual studies, cultural history and archaeology. It should also be essential reading for museum practitioners.

Table of Contents

Museums as cultures of copies


Brita Brenna, Hans Dam Christensen, Olav Hamran

Section I: Models

Section 1 Introduction

Chapter 1 - The Art and Science of Replication. Copies and Copying in the Multi-Disciplinary Museum

Samuel J.M.M. Alberti, Alice Blackwell, Peter Davidson, Martin Goldberg and Geoffrey N. Swinney

Chapter 2 - Knowing with models

Brita Brenna

Chapter 3 - Documenting, educating, recapturing – copying practices at the Norwegian Technical Museum

Olav Hamran

Chapter 4 - Mostly making models: The Scientific Use of Natural Heritage Collections

Henry McGhie

Section II: Mobility and instability

Section II Introduction

Chapter 5 - Lost Continents, Projective Objects

Mari Lending

Chapter 6 - Turkish Neo-Ottoman memory culture and the problems of copying the past

Gönül Bozoğlu and Christopher Whitehead

Chapter 7 - Replica Knowledge: Travelling Thrones

Felix Sattler & Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw

Chapter 8 - Looking for originals in a museum of copies? The ambivalence of the Thorvaldsens Museum

Hans Dam Christensen

Chapter 9 - Copying as Museum Branding: Souvenirs with Edvard Munch’s Bedspread Pattern

Joanna Iranowska

Section III: Body, Life and death

Section III Introduction

Chapter 10 - Ethnographic Mannequins: Copying as artefactualization of human difference

Anne Folke Henningsen

Chapter 11 - Constructing Museum Nature: Photography and Specimens in Natural History Museums around 1900

Liv Emma Thorsen

Chapter 12 - Faces of death. Death masks in the museum

Ole Marius Hylland

Section IV: Text as/of thing

Section IV Introduction

Chapter 13 - Commonplaces, copies, and copiousness

Anne Eriksen

Chapter 14 - The proof of the original is in the copying: Heavenly chain letters

Siv Frøydis Berg

Chapter 15 - Documenting museum objects: A practice of copying and a ‘copious’ practice?

Janne Werner Olsrud

Chapter 16 - Breaking the frames? The creation of digital curatorial agency at Swedish cultural historical museums

Bodil Axelsson

Chapter 17 - Towards a Future Museum of Copying

Marcus Boon

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Brita Brenna is Professor of Museology and Head of Centre for Museum Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Hans Dam Christensen is Professor of Cultural Communication at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Olav Hamran is Head of Research and Development, Arts Council Norway.


"The variety of chapters from different times, places and disciplines adds something new, relevant and important to the ongoing discussion of the credibility of the museum as a modern institution within museum studies and the heritage field more broadly.[...] it achieves its objectives by extending understanding and appreciation of the culture of copies in museums while providing a rich resource that scholars and practitioners can use as a springboard for further research."

-Gitte Westergaard, PhD candidate in the Department of Cultural Studies and Languages at the University of Stavanger