Museums and the Exhibitionary Complex in Central Europe, 1850-1939

Museums and the Exhibitionary Complex in Central Europe, 1850-1939

The rise of the exhibitionary complex in nineteenth-century Germany,
France and Britain has been the subject of substantial amounts of
research. It has been rather less well explored in relation to central
Europe. The journal Centropa will therefore be publishing a special
issue on museums in Central Europe in 2012. The issue will be
examining the development of museums between 1850 and 1939 and their
contribution to processes of identity formation during the period in
question. Questions to be addressed will include:

1) What ideological impulses gave rise to the foundation of museums
across central Europe?
2) What were the ideological implications of their collecting and
exhibition policies?
3) How did their functions and meanings change between 1850 and 1939?
4) How did individual museums position themselves in relation to other
institutions? In particular, what was the impact of the major
institutions in, the Habsburg centres of Vienna and Budapest on
museums elsewhere in central Europe?
5) What role did museums elsewhere across Europe play in shaping
museological practice in central Europe?
6) What role did museums play in the wider development of civil
society and embourgeoisement? Did they promote alternative social and
political visions?

Proposals are invited for papers addressing one or more of these
questions. Papers may wish to discuss the museums of design, art
galleries or ethnographic museums established after 1850, or they may
wish to examine the metamorphoses of older institutions, such as
regional museums (‘Landesmuseen') or the courtly collections.

Please submit a 300-400 word proposal to Matthew Rampley
( by 31st May 2010.

Matthew Rampley
Department of Art History
University of Birmingham