Title:
Captives of Narrative: Scandinavian Museum Exhibits and Polar Ambitions
Author:
Anders Houltz: Division for the History of Science and Technology, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10239719
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Year:
2010
Volume:
2
Theme:
Theme: Uses of the Past – Nordic Historical Cultures in a Comparative Perspective
Pages:
719-744
No. of pages:
26
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2010-12-17


This article compares the histories of two museums of polar exploration, both founded in the 1930s but based on well-known expeditions dating back to the decades around 1900. The first is the Fram Museum in Oslo, centered around the famous Norwegian polar ship, the second is the Andrée Museum in Gränna, combining accounts of the ill-fated balloon expedition with a polar centre reflecting more recent polar research activities.

The aim of the article is to analyze the relationship between museum and narrative. Museums are shapers of narrative but at the same time shaped by the narratives they relate. The article explores the symbolic and medialized dimensions of polar research, expressed in museums, as well as the way in which museums interrelate with national identities and self-images.

What does it mean to be a modern polar nation? And how is such an identity expressed in cultural terms? In which ways can museum institutions and exhibitions be used as means for such expressions? And how do “the grand narratives” of Sweden and Norway relate to the epic representations of polar activities, presented by the museums?

Keywords: Polar museums; polar history; narrative; nationalism; The Andrée Expedition 1897; The Fram Expedition 1893–96; Oslo; Gränna

Volume 2, Theme:: Theme: Uses of the Past – Nordic Historical Cultures in a Comparative Perspective, Article 39, 2010

Author:
Anders Houltz
Title:
Captives of Narrative: Scandinavian Museum Exhibits and Polar Ambitions
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10239719
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