Museum Misalignments

Click the button below to read Kapsula Magazine's February issue: LONGING 2/3, where my essay, Museum Misalignments (page 17) was published this month. 


Museums have varying degrees of visual and conceptual accuracy, which is rooted in the impossibility to present a complete and accurate version of history (Shafernich 1993, 45). In some cases this inaccuracy is visual, resulting in a crude or even grotesque appearance. In other examples it is the actual story being told that seems grossly incorrect. I will describe three American museums that demonstrate the beauty in imprecision and in some cases, the deeply disturbing (and even problematic) vulnerabilities of representation: the House on the Rock in rural Wisconsin, the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia. In each example, I describe instances of unintentional slippage. My intention is not to critique, necessarily, but to confirm the impossibility of achieving perfection and how representational errors are reverberations of our ever-present longing to remember.

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