1st Edition

Museums as Cultures of Copies The Crafting of Artefacts and Authenticity

Edited By Brita Brenna, Hans Dam Christensen, Olav Hamran Copyright 2019
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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