Architecture as an Exhibit. Museum Presentations in Transnational Entanglement


International conference hosted by the Department of Culture and Imagination at the GWZO Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe, Leipzig, and Professor Cornelia Jöchner (Institute of Art History, Ruhr University Bochum) in conjunction with the DFG project ‘Outdoor Architectural Museums 1880–1930: Contact zones of regional and national architecture in transnational exchange’

Open-air architectural museums in the decades around 1900 were monumental complexes designed to provide a lifelike presentation of a country’s architectural culture, something which had previously been underrepresented. Such displays became permanently established in various European countries in connection with world’s fairs and national exhibitions as well as the museum boom. The term ‘village’ signifies the ensembles’ uniform, spatially perceptible aesthetics, and does not necessarily imply an ethnographic reference. These architectural exhibitions were intended to both meet scholarly expectations and become popular attractions by means of their presentation strategies. Increasing the attention paid to them by international exhibition research community is the goal of this conference.

This conference seeks dialogue with important standpoints in this field. The aim is to be able to better identify links between open-air architectural museums and other exhibition types, and thus achieve a more complete picture of how architecture was presented at exhibitions around the turn of the century. A joint area of discussion is emerging concerning the relationship between the architecture displayed and the exhibition space, especially regarding the question of museum presentation. After all, unlike the presentation of architecture in museum and exhibition galleries, open-air architectural museums turn urban spaces and landscapes into museum spaces, enabling primary spatial perception as well as the revitalization of the architecture on show.

The conference will examine the course of musealization – particularly typification, medialization, historicization and objectification – as formative elements in the new contextualization of architecture. These different exhibition strategies will be addressed on a local and a global scale. Particular attention therefore needs to be devoted to world’s fairs and national exhibitions which, owing to their international impact, occupy a position in the push and pull between national debates and globalization processes.

The conference will be held as a face-to-face event at two locations in Leipzig. Due to the pandemic, the maximum number of participants is limited. Advance registration is requested for attendance in person – please contact Gáspár Salamon:

The sections of the programme taking place at the GWZO Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe will be available on Zoom. This service starts at 17.30 on 28 October 2021. To attend online, please register beforehand using this link.

More information can be found in the full program.

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