Head of Research and Collections, PhD – The Danish Railway Museum
Session#6, Wednesday 28 September, 10:30
The material turn and fear of artefacts – exhibits or the experience of riding a train?
The Danish Railway Museum is just finishing an evaluation of the collection of rolling stock. The collection had to be reduced from c. 350 pieces of rolling stock to a more reasonable and museological proper volume.
The purpose of a museum is to keep and preserve the exhibits for eternity but also to make decisions on what to preserve to make the best representation of the past. The dilemma we all share is how to best present the past – by keeping the artefacts untouched or by keeping them alive with the implication that the artefacts will be
manipulated and in time worn down and destroyed. The process of reducing the stock
will be presented and some of our dilemmas discussed: Is it the physical museums piece or the experience of the moving train that best represent the past? What is a representative collection? Is the solution competition or cooperation with vintage train operators?