Publics of the First Public Museums (18th and 19th Centuries).II. Literary Discourses. Workshop internazionale


Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture

Start date: 23 May 2024 / 09:00

End date: 24 May 2024 / 12:30

Workshop internazionale 

Publics of the First Public Museums (18th and 19th Centuries).
II. Literary Discourses

Durham, 23-24 maggio 2024
Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University

A cura di 
Carla Mazzarelli (Università della Svizzera italiana)
Stefano Cracolici (Durham University) 


The workshop Publics of the First Public Museums (18th and 19th Centuries). II. Literary Discourses is an integral part of the research project Visibility Reclaimed. Experiencing Rome’s First Public Museums (1733-1870). An Analysis of Public Audiences in a Transnational Perspective. Marking the second of three encounters, this workshop delves into the examination of literary discourses vital to understanding the experiences of early museum-goers. Travel literature has long represented a privileged source for investigating the origins of the first public museums and the practices of access to public and private collections in Europe. However, in the light of recent studies aimed at deepening the material history of the museum and the encounter of the public with the institutions, these sources deserve a closer scrutiny in both methodological and critical terms. Following the inaugural Rome session that focused on institutional sources, the Durham workshop turns its gaze towards the rich literary narratives with the aim of analysing them also in a comparative perspective with the primary sources. As museums sought to define and engage their public, literature often became both a mirror and a mould, reflecting and shaping societal perceptions. With a spotlight on interdisciplinary and transnational approaches, the Durham workshop calls for a deeper probe into the visual and material realms of museums, emphasizing the interplay between literary discourses and artworks, collections, display, space, audiences “narrated” in the museum and the evolving institutional norms of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Per maggiori informazioni, si veda il programma allegato.