Accepted Paper:

Present heritage and past practices  


Elin von Unge (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the role of the City museum in Stockholm, as an actor among many, in the public mourning process that took place after the terror attack on the 7th of April 2017. In this case study I pose questions to the consequences of participatory collecting practices in a digital age.

Paper long abstract:

On the seventh of April, at 14:53, the Swedish capital was hit by a terror attack. In the busiest shopping street in Stockholm, a man stole a truck and ploughed into pedestrians, before finally crashing into a big shopping mall. Five people died and many more were injured. Only two days after the attempt the Stockholm City Museum started Project 14:53. The venture was an attempt to use new digital media to collect public reactions related to the attack. However, this paper will not focus on the attempt itself, but rather on the process of public mourning that took place afterwards and the part the City Museum subsequently played in these activities. The aim of the collecting project was to gather the public's reactions to the terror attack but, in doing so, the museum had become a part of the process they originally meant to capture. In other words - the museum made itself part of the present time phenomena it meant to collect. Finally, I pose the question what the consequences of this predicament are? Is the museum fulfilling its role as an impartial knowledge-institution when so apparently taking part in the events later collected? Or, can museums, through new methods of collecting the contemporary, meet a need in today's society for more innovative ways of telling stories and thus co-creating history?

Panel Arch01
Participatory archives in a transforming world [SIEF Working Group on Archives] [P+R]