This provocative book challenges long-held assumptions about the nature of historical consciousness in Germany. Susan A. Crane argues that the ever-more-elaborate preservation of the historical may actually reduce the likelihood that history can be experienced with the freshness and individuality characteristic of the early collectors and preservationists. Her book is both a study of the emergence in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany of a distinctively modem conception of historical consciousness, and a meditation on what was lost as historical thought became institutionalized and professionalized.
Public forms of remembering the past which are familiar today, such as historical museums and historical preservation, have surprisingly recent origins. In Germany, caring about the past took on these distinctively new forms after the Napoleonic wars. The Brothers Grimm gathered fairy tales and documented the origins of the German language. Historical preservationists collected documents and artifacts and organized the conservation of cathedrals and other historic buildings. Collectors formed historical societies and created Germany's historical museums. No single national consciousness emerged; instead, many groups used similar means to make different claims about what it meant to have a German past.
Many history museums collect contemporary objects, stories, images and sounds. But reasoned collecting strategies and policies are often lacking. The sheer quantity of available material culture and the complexity of contemporary life leave many confused about how best to document and engage with the present. Collecting the Contemporaryaddresses one of the most fundamental issues facing today's history museums: why and how to engage with contemporary collecting? In a format which is approachable, attractive - and above all actionable, this handbook is packed with stimulating thinking and international case studies from some of the leading practitioners and thinkers in the field. This overview of contemporary collecting in a social historical context is well overdue. Original source material, ideas, developments and research have never before been brought together in a single volume."
This groundbreaking book examines the relationship between the development of the consumer society and the rise of collecting by individuals and institutions. Rusell Belk considers how and why people collect, as individuals, corporations and museums, and the impact this collecting has on us and our culture.
Collecting in a Consumer Society outlines the history of museum collecting from ancient civilizations to the present. It also looks at aspects of consumer culture - advertizing, department stores, mass merchandizing, consumer desires, and how this relates to the activity of collecting.
Collecting in a Consumer Society is the first book to focus on collecting as material consumption. This is a provocative and engaging book, essential reading for anyone involved with the process of collecting.