Revisiting the Past in Museums and at Historic Sites demonstrates that museums and historic spaces are increasingly becoming "backdrops" for all sorts of appropriations and interventions that throw new light upon the objects they comprise and the pasts they reference.

Rooted in new scholarship that expands established notions of art installations, museums, period rooms, and historic sites, the book brings together contributions from scholars from intersecting disciplines. Arguing that we are witnessing a paradigm shift concerning the place of historic spaces and museums in the contemporary imaginary, the volume shows that such institutions are merging traditional scholarly activities tied to historical representation and inquiry with novel modes of display and interpretation, drawing them closer to the world of entertainment and interactive consumption. Case studies analyze how a range of interventions impact historic spaces and conceptions of the past they generate. The book concludes that museums and historic sites are reinventing themselves in order to remain meaningful and to play a role in societies aspiring to be more inclusive and open to historical and cultural debate.

Revisiting the Past in Museums and at Historic Sites will be of interest to students and faculty who are engaged in the study of museums, art history, architectural and design history, social and cultural history, interior design, visual culture, and material culture.

chapter |9 pages

Space unlocked, history unfrozen

Revisiting the past in museums and at historic sites

section Section I|98 pages

Historic sites

chapter 1|17 pages

A way forward for plantation sites

Reimagining space and relations in the wake of Black Lives Matter

chapter 3|19 pages

Reanimating literary house museums in France

The homes and haunts of George Sand and Honoré de Balzac

chapter 5|21 pages

Housing remembrance

Simon Fujiwara's appropriation of the Anne Frank House

section Section II|82 pages


chapter 6|18 pages

Negotiating Tsarist heritage

Marxist everyday-life museum displays in the Soviet Union, 1920–1930s

chapter 7|16 pages

Dwelling in the past continuous

Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark and the Hermitage's Genii Loci

chapter 8|13 pages

Salvador Dali's Rainy Taxi at the museum

The disruption of Surrealist installation

chapter 9|15 pages

A refuge and asylum

Perforating the boundaries of the hermetic exhibition space in the 1960s and 1970s

chapter 10|18 pages

Revolting hunting trophies

Art Orienté Objet at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

section Section III|65 pages

Period rooms

chapter 11|13 pages

The period room as a crystal of time

Marie-Ève Marchand

chapter 12|16 pages

The Gilded Age revisited 12

Yinka Shonibare CBE at the Newark Museum of Art

chapter 13|20 pages

Bringing stories back into spaces 13

“Living Rooms” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

chapter 14|14 pages

Moving reality TV into the period room

1900 House