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
Chapter 3 - Documenting, educating, recapturing – copying practices at the Norwegian Technical Museum
Chapter 4 - Mostly making models: The Scientific Use of Natural Heritage Collections
Section II: Mobility and instability
Section II Introduction
Chapter 5 - Lost Continents, Projective Objects
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
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
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
Chapter 17 - Towards a Future Museum of Copying
"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