Expertise and the formation of university museum collections

  • Terje Brattli
  • Morten Steffensen
Keywords: university museum, museum collection, expertise, multiple reality, performativity


This text is a project presentation of work in progress. The objective is to introduce an alternative analytical approach to university museum collections as a phenomenon. This endeavour has been motivated by our experiences of the dynamic and multiple practices and versions of collections by these museums, rather than of the collections as static and uniform. Based on an approach inspired by ontological politics, we analyse the university museum collection as a result of different enactments rather than as a homogeneous entity that either just is, either passively observed or strategically and/or competitively constructed. These theoretical reflections, in addition to observations made in an initial empirical study of practices at a university museum, indicate the need to acknowledge the coexistence of several parallel versions of the university museum collection as expertise performance. This allows for the understanding of the university museum collection as multiple, and the second phase of this project will consist of analysis of relationships between various simultaneous practices and versions.