Moving gender: Home museums and the construction of their inhabitants

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi*, Irit Dekel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Home museums in Israel and Germany produce a representational space in which the public figure, usually a ‘great man,’ is effectively ‘dragged home’ to the so-called private sphere so as to make the domestic worthy of musealization. Based on three years of ethnographic research in nine such museums (four in Israel and five in Germany), this article shows that when the sphere most identified with women is represented through the life and work of the men who lived there, the place of the wife and children is sidelined, belittled, and at times concealed. In representing famous persons through material space and objects in the private abode, museal techniques determine which specific domestic areas, such as the kitchen and the bedroom, become the prime location of telling stories about women who lived in the house. They provide a shared perspective for visitors who find the stories about the wives endearing, recognizing home through them.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • Collective memory
  • gender in museums
  • home museums
  • museum visitors
  • museums in Israel and Germany
  • private sphere

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