Between an object and a tale: Strategies of local narratives construction in semi-peripheral museums

Dominik Porczyński,

Lenka Vargova


The primary aim of this article is to single out and interpret the processes of constructing images of locality in regional museums in the Podkarpackie Province and in the Košice Region, as well as to indicate phenomena which affect these processes. We are interested primarily in discussing individual components of legacy (local, national, material, immaterial, etc.) and using them to build a sense of identity in museum visitors. Relying on the principles of the new museology: “protect – examine – inform”, we focus on the last of these spheres, which refers directly to the practice of creating meanings that engage both museologists and the public.

When we single out the field of research, we position the subject of our inquiry in the context of the theory of globalisation, which means that we regard the specified areas as peripheral within semi-peripheral countries. This specification of the field is supposed to help us determine whether local museums in Central Europe still function within the framework of the traditional (modernist) paradigm or whether they have fully or partially implemented the principles of the “new museology”.

In the course of the analysis, we show that the process of constructing locality is a matter of control over legacy and its interpretations. However, it is not an action which depends solely on a museologist, who has to deal with time pressure and the availability and completeness of a collection when creating his or her narrative. It means that in reference to educational museum activities, we should rather talk about multiple images of locality, the construction of which is affected by various factors.

The material was gathered from in-depth interviews conducted in selected Polish and Slovak museums, thanks to which this article reflects primarily the museologists’ perspective on the problems in question. 

* Tekst powstał na podstawie badań realizowanych w 2017 roku, sfinansowanych w ramach dotacji celowej MNiSW służącej rozwojowi młodych naukowców oraz uczestników studiów doktoranckich przyznanej przez Wydział Socjologiczno-Historyczny Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego.

Słowa kluczowe: globalisation, new museology, constructivism, local identity, museum educarion / globalizacja, nowa muzeologia, konstruktywizm, tożsamość lokalna, edukacja muzealna

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