From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 3-18
Camilla Mordhorst & Kitte Wagner Nielsen:
The Semantics of Forms - an Exhibition Theory
The article argues that a predominantly silent area of museology, that is to say the exhibition, can be described through an aesthetic theory about the semantics of form. Inspired by Georg Lukács' analysis of the novel and Peter Szondis analysis of modern drama the writers argue that the cultural exhibition can be viewed as a form with a historically determined content. The form of an exhibition is always the carrier of a certain content, not necessarily identical to the content which the exhibition seeks to express. Therefore it is possible for the form and content of an exhibition to be in conflict. In the article the German exhibition, Bilder und Zeugnisse der Deutschen Geschichte which is shown in Deutsches Historisches Museum at the moment in Berlin, proves to be an example of such a case.
Camilla Mordhorst er kandidat i kommunikation og etnologi og museumsinspektør ved Odense Bys Museer, Afd. for viden og formidling.
Adr: Møntergården, Overgade 48-50, 5000 Odense C.
Fax +45 - 65 90 73 76.
Kitte Wagner Nielsen er kandidat i kommunikation og dramaturgi og dramaturg ved Betty Nansen Teatret.
Adr: Asgårdsvej 2, 1811 Frb. C.
Fax + 45 - 35 36 40 50.
From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 19-38
«Encounters between the rivers»
A step by step account of how a new historical exhibition describing the culture of a region in Northern Sweden came into being. The project was linked to the opening of a new museum building completed in Härnösand in 1994. The exhibition was focussed on three basically chronological themes - prehistory, the middle ages and the modern era. Particular care was devoted to giving each theme a distinctive presentational style reflecting the spirit of the age. Its approach to the historical content was however essentially phenomenological.
The author, who is an archæologist and was responsible for the presentation of prehistory, gives in detail the deliberations which determined the interpretation and presentation of the archæological material. She and her colleagues wanted on the one hand to display as many items as possible to the population of the region - hitherto denied access to their prehistory - and on the other hand to create an atmosphere suggestive of the cosmological ideas that can be derived or guessed at from the vestiges of artistic expression found in the material. For that reason both researchers at the frontline of contemporary archæology and artists were called on for assistance. Added to this examples of work with prehistorical materials and techniques in experimental archæology were amply supplied.
Margareta Bergvall är arkeolog och antikvarie vid Länsmuseet Västernorrland.
Adr. Länsmuseet Västernorrland, Box 2043,
S-871 02 Härnösand
From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 57-66
Installation art and museum exhibitions
Two works by the Canadian artist Vera Frenkel, another by Peter Johansson and the Bonk Business Inc exhibition are scrutinized and compared with historical museum displays. The paper argues that Frenkel's and Johansson's installations are opening a dialogue, engaging and stimulating visitors in a way that leave the ironic comment of Bonk Business Inc and the static historic statements of the museum exhibitions far behind. It is to expect - and hope - that impulses from installation art should change the the attitude of the exhibition producers in museums.
- reality and fiction
Katje Lindqvist är doktorand vid företagsekonomiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet. Hon arbetar med en avhandling om konstnärer och museer.
Adr: Stockholms universitet, ECAM, Företagsekonomiska institutionen,
S-106 91 Stockholm
Fax +46-815 3054
From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 67-84
On the track of Alvar Aalto
The first part of the paper describes two encounters with the famous architect. The first one, which afforded the opportunity for a long conversation, occurred in 1965 when the author went to Helsinki to acquire pictures for an architectural magazine. The other was the occasion of a shorter exchange and took place some years later when Alvar Aalto passed through Stockholm on his way from Aalborg, where his art museum was being built. The second part of the paper offers a comprehensive analysis of some of Aalto's art museum projects based on hints which Aalto dropped in the conversations mentioned. Four museum projects that were never realized are scrutinized - the art museum for Tallin, Estonia, the maritime museum sketched for Avesta, Sweden, the art museums for Bagdad, Iraq, and Shiraz, Iran - as well as the only one which was built, the art museum in Aalborg, Denmark. Three basic themes seen as being essential to Aalto's ideas about museums, are discerned. The first is the 'echelon' motif which opens up the museum to the visitor and is combined with various types of pathways to direct the visitor through an exhibition or collection. The second comprises the free-standing 'delta' panels and the third the lighting based on a large number of conically shaped lamps perforating the ceiling. Together these elements produce the specific spatial experience necessary to load the relational triangle of visitor, art and space with the desired tension.
Gösta Salén är arkitekt, konsthistoriker och utställningsproducent. I den sistnämnda egenskapen har han fram till sin pensionering för några år sedan varit knuten till Riksutställningar, Stockholm.
Adr: Drottningholmsvägen 76, S-112 42 Stockholm
From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 97-106
A new field of research
A doctoral thesis has recently been presented at the University of Linköping by Annika Alzén which deals with the preservation of the old industrial area in the heart of Norrköping - once called Sweden's Manchester because of its flourishing textile industry.
The article summarizes the book and its analysis of the reorientation of official antiquarian attitudes in the 1970s which this preservation project represents. It tries to trace the origin of the new preservation policy and points to English industrial archæology as a source of inspiration. The historical interest in disappearing industrial techniques, buildings and working environments aroused by the closure of many industries and a painful change in conditions on the labour market is another important incentive. The parallel to what happened at the turn of the century as a consequence of the changes in agriculture and the decline of rural communities is discussed. The dissertation undoubtedly opens up a new field of research and it is hoped that it will be further explored - perhaps within the research programme for 'Modernization and cultural heritage' at the University of Linköping.
Maths Isacson är professor i ekonomisk historia vid Uppsala universitet.
Adr: Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen, Box 513,
S-751 20 Uppsala
Fax +46-18 181223
From Nordisk Museologi 1997/1: SUMMARY pp. 117-131
Who owns the museum objects?
The paper «Who owns the museum objects?» focuses on who actually decides when and how museum objects are used and in what context. Often it is the curators who decide the meaning of a certain museum object, but not always. Problems caused by management, the economy and the safety of the object might limit the way the curator wants to handle it.
Rolf Gilberg er magister fra 1971 i etnografi og tog ph.d. i 1996 ved Københavns Universitet. Har siden 1971 arbejdet som museumsinspektør ved Etnografisk Samling i Danmarks Nationalmuseum. Har skrevet bøger og artikler om især eskimoer, mongoler og shamaner, samt om museologi.
Adr: Etnografisk Samling, Nationalmuseet, Frederiksholms Kanal 12, DK-1220 København K.