Between centre and periphery

Between centre and periphery: museum development 1850-1950

Project partners

PhD Fellow, cand.mag. Kasper Haunstrup Madsen and Associate Professor, PhD Lars Bisgaard, University of Southern Denmark

Project period

1 August 2016 - 1 August 2019

In the first half of the 19th century, Copenhagen museum institutions were predominant in communicating and organizing cultural heritage in Denmark. During the second half of the century, this monopoly was challenged by the establishment of a range of provincial museums. Even though they were considered miniature editions of their Copenhagen counterparts, the new museums did not always respect their place in the assumed hierarchy. A conflict arose between centre and periphery concerning who had the right to organize and display the common, cultural heritage, how it should be communicated, and, more importantly, what was to be considered the ‘common’ cultural heritage. A primary focus on the higher estates’ culture was challenged by provincial museums that centered on folk culture, especially from their local rural regions. This research project investigates how well the new provincial museums were anchored in their local communities, in the popular movements of the 19th century, and what these networks meant for their societal communication and interaction as it was defined in relation to the larger museums. The empirical parts of the study mainly consist of working papers from the selected museums, newspaper reviews of exhibitions, and private archives from leading museum individuals.