Objects or Narratives. Archaeological Exhibitions in Serbia: Foundations of Museum Archaeology

  • Tatjana Cvjetićanin National Museum Belgrade
Keywords:
museum archaeology, Serbia, National museum, museum exhibitions

Abstract

Although every local museum or parts of national museums keep archaeological finds, museums in general play a very limited role on the archaeological scene, often being passive and marginalized. Well-grounded investigation into the archaeological objects kept in museum collections and, above all, the public domain of museums, the nature of collections and exhibitions, both permanent and occasional, have not been adequately recognized, discussed or considered. In spite of the fact that museum exhibitions legitimize the dominant social and political norms of the present, museums remain marginalized, separated from the currents of various pertinent disciplines, and not prepared for the necessary changes. Archaeological theory, shaping the archaeological practice of museums as well, is not understood as its constituent part, and the interpretive context in which exhibitions are created, contents and nature of interpretation are not considered. The analysis of the exhibitions of the National Museum in Belgrade, being the paradigm of museum archaeology in Serbia up to the middle of the 20th century, has shown that the culture-historical approach, the idea of continuity and dynamic artistic presentations of alienated past have marked this public presence of museums. The Museum has developed from the storage space and knowledge presentation, over exhibition space to an ideal museum, dominated by estheticized expositions, establishing various official representations of the past. The changes in the theory of museology, somewhat coinciding with the changes in archaeological theory, have posed a new challenge to museum archaeology, that may be defined in short as the need for the new interpretation of the past.

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Published
2014-09-22
How to Cite
Cvjetićanin, Tatjana. 2014. “Objects or Narratives. Archaeological Exhibitions in Serbia: Foundations of Museum Archaeology”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 9 (3), 575-96. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v9i3.2.