Accepted Paper:

Queering the museum: reflecting on what you see/what you do  


Susanne Ries (University of Wuerzburg)
Patricia Pfeiffer (University of Wuerzburg)
Mona Sophia Zimmer (Universität Würzburg)

Paper short abstract:

To reveal heteronormativity in museums, we will visualize queer aspects in the exhibition of the "Museum Europäischer Kulturen", Berlin. With background information, the awareness on 'queer' should be raised for visitors and museum professionals when collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting objects.

Paper long abstract:

In the scope of our research, 'queer' stands for everything that is outside the social norm and is connected to gender, sex, and sexuality. An obvious problem with this approach is the almost inevitable danger of 'othering' because 'queer' has not yet been fully socially acknowledged in Germany and maybe needs more emphasis to be noticed at all. There are only few German museums that have already addressed 'queer' in temporary exhibitions. In this respect however, the "Schwules Museum", Berlin, serves as an outstanding exception because of its focus on LGBTTIQ issues only.

Our aim is to visualize 'queer' in the permanent exhibition of the "Museum Europäischer Kulturen", Berlin. Using multimedia tools, our goal is to open-up a multi-dimensional approach to different objects and offer queer stories. For this, we selected four objects which are either already part of the exhibition or of the museum's mission of collecting the present. These objects and the stories behind them should introduce visitors to queer aspects in the MEK's exhibition and collection and give people a new perspective to look on other museums as well. Museum professionals at the MEK have already included 'queer' in the process of collecting objects. In order to pursue this, they also should include 'queer' when interpreting objects which are already part of the collection. Additionally, the MEK should reflect its own narrative with respect to Queer Theory in order to raise awareness on 'queer' as part of society.

Panel Gend004
Queer ethnographies of the 21st century: heritages, realities, and perspectives