The aim of this panel is to investigate the role of utopian visions and heritage imaginaries in the development of museum collections and the emergence of museums.
One of the characteristics of contemporary museum practice, is a general strive for transparency in accessioning and de-accessioning activities. Still, as it comes to the role of individual utopian visions and heritage imaginaries in the formation and presentation of a collections both now and in the past, a lot remains to be discovered. If it is true that contemporary museum directors are expected to being visionary, in what way do their utopian visions and heritage imaginaries influence the museums' collections and displays? And what about the role of the curator: in how far do his/her individual heritage imaginaries and utopian visions contribute to museum collections? Further, what is the influence of utopian visions and heritage imaginaries on the formation of so called 'participatory museums' in which the curator takes the role of facilitator or mediator instead of decision maker? The aim of this panel is to discuss the role of individual fascinations, dreams, fears, visions and imaginaries in the development of museum collections and the emergence of museums. The focus will be on ethnographic museums, museums of cultural history or folklore and historic houses. Topics include, but are not limited to: • Folklorists, anthropologists and their utopian visions in the museum • Private collections that became publicly accessible. • Historic houses, their owners, and the curators role. • Activists and/in the museum • Migrant communities as collection developers / museum initiators NB. The organizers plan to found a new Working Group on museums and material culture at the SIEF congress in Zagreb, following this panel.