A living place: On the sociology of atmosphere in home museums

Irit Dekel*, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A darkened room, a cane, a hat on a bed: such items, former belongings of famous individuals, are presented in home museums in Israel and Germany. Such scenes are made to appear authentic through the mediation of objects and stories, which render them relatable to visitors but also strange and uncanny. Home museums are sites for the study of the sociology of atmosphere, which is constructed through what we term temporal multitude–linking stories, objects and the situatedness of visitors with historical narratives and their interpretation. Furthermore, such home museums create what we term a ‘national memory atmosphere’ in which specific national narratives are experienced as personal, thus stabilising relations between individuals and national memory. At the same time, they preserve those memories as multidimensional and open to revisiting. Here, we study the home museums of Adenauer, Brecht-Weigel, Einstein, Goethe, and Kollwitz in Germany and those of Agnon, Ben-Gurion, and Weizmann in Israel.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)336-362
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 European Sociological Association.


  • Sociology of atmosphere
  • authenticity
  • collective memory
  • museum experience
  • museum visitors
  • temporal multitude


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