Objects or Narratives. Archaeological Displays in Serbia: The age of artefacts

  • Tatjana Cvjetićanin National Museum Belgrade
Keywords:
museum archaeology, Serbia, National Museum, museum displays, culture-historical approach, interpretation

Abstract

There are over 60 museums and collections in Serbia today holding archaeological material and archaeological displays, offering an ever-present, public image of the results of the development of archaeological discipline in our country, its theoretical framework, and above all, present the official interpretation of the past. In spite of the fact that displays and exhibitions represent the most visible museum forum and the basic medium of museums, presenting official representations of the past, constructing memories, forming values and attitudes, these are rarely the object of consideration from the theoretically informed perspective. The aim here is to consider the characteristics of the archaeological displays and thematic exhibitions in Serbia, and especially of the National Museum in Belgrade after the World War II, since this institution is still the paradigm of museum archaeology in the country. The questions are raised whether the changes in the archaeological theory, and especially in museology, have induced the changes in the custodians’ practice; whether the deeply rooted dominant archaeological concepts have been transformed; finally, and perhaps more importantly, whether the mission of museums has changed. The interpretive context is still completely based upon the culture-historical approach and the idea of continuity, and the past is presented by rarities and utmost achievements, mainly estheticized. Museums and museum archaeology have travelled along the road from research institutions, whose expertise is not challenged, temples of knowledge and sanctuaries of the past in which the national idea slowly enters the focus, to the marginalized cultural institutions trying to become relevant to the community.

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Published
2015-09-15
How to Cite
Cvjetićanin, Tatjana. 2015. “Objects or Narratives. Archaeological Displays in Serbia: The Age of Artefacts”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 10 (3), 557-93. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v10i3.2.