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Authors:Constanze Breuer: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
Paul Kahl: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
Publication title:National Museums as Memorial Places The Goethehaus Weimar and the Foundation of National Museums in 19th Century Germany
Conference:Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011
Publication type: Abstract and Fulltext
Issue:078
Article No.:008
Abstract:The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between national museums and memorial places dedicated to individuals. Taking the Goethe National Museum in Weimar as a starting point; we try to develop a new approach in understanding the type of museum designated as a “national museum”. First; we show that the name “Goethe National Museum” referred initially to Goethe’s house and in particular his study as the most important memorial site. The Goethe National Museum adopts a new type of “individual memorial place” – known in German as a “Personengedenkstätte” – that is established in a former residential dwelling. It is the only individual memorial place that was called a national museum in 19th century Europe. Drawing on this special case; it can be shown that national museums in 19th century Germany follow the model of memorial places dedicated to individuals. Neither the Germanic National Museum (1852); the Bavarian National Museum (1855); the Goethe National Museum (1885) nor the Schiller National Museum (1903) were founded with the primary aim of creating collections as it would be usually expected from other museums. Their aim was rather to appropriate or create a central place to remember the national past as a historical continuum; to represent the life and the deeds of persons connected with the national identity. The Goethehaus Weimar is a special case insofar as a real commemorative site forms the basis of this national museum. Our considerations are framed by the theory of society developed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann; who saw a correlation between the rise of the semantics of the nation and the shift to modernity occurring in most European societies during the 18th century. We argue that these semantics are mapped to national museums in the form of memorial places.
Language:English
Year:2012
No. of pages:9
Pages:87-95
Series:Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):1650-3686
ISSN (online):1650-3740
File:http://www.ep.liu.se/ecp/078/008/ecp12078008.pdf
Available:2012-10-30
Publisher:Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet

REFERENCE TO THIS PAGE
Constanze Breuer, Paul Kahl (2012). National Museums as Memorial Places The Goethehaus Weimar and the Foundation of National Museums in 19th Century Germany, Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011 http://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=078;article=008 (accessed 10/31/2014)