Day at the museum
“These are called the treasure chambers, this is almost like open storage. This is from a strange time period. It’s from a non-time, it doesn’t have any dynamics. It’s a static view of what the Arctic is in this room. We just get this non-time with no-time dimension, with no development, with no past with no future. At the war time [WW2], we stopped doing any sort of collecting. It was considered at that time that all of the Arctic had been so much influenced by the modern world that it wouldn’t be of interest any more . . . That was part of it and another thing is that within anthropology and ethnography people became more and more uneasy with the whole concept of collecting the other. Everyone realized that this is, of course, a totally impossible project. How can you portray, what should you be portraying, and how much of the other is actually you, just you reflecting out. It’s called the anthropological crisis.”
A sample from our day with Martin Appelt at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. He’s a senior researcher and curator at Modern History and World Cultures. He’s worked on Arctic projects for the last 25 years.