Artículo

BETWEEN ANTHROPOLOGY AND WONDER. BEHIND THE SCENES OF BARCELONA'S MUSEUM OF WORLD CULTURES EXHIBITION

Barcelona's Museum of World Cultures opened in February 2015 displaying 529 artefacts mainly coming from a private collection (that of Folch Foundation) completed with objects from Barcelona’s Ethnological Museum, Clos Archaeological Foundation, Duran Vall-llosera Archaeological Collection and some pieces from Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.Barcelona’s Ethnological Museum opened in October 2015 with a totally renewed display of objects both from local and ethnological collections. How comes that the same municipality owns two anthropological museums, both opening in 2015, both showing objects from extra-European cultures?  In searching for a reply to this question, my research focused on the first museum, whose story illustrates long-standing and well-known local partnerships between public institutions and private collectors as well as recent policies (and politics) taking place in the town. However, beyond this framework, the study of museum “poetic of representation” revealed further cultural dynamics. In fact, analysed under the lens of museum and visual anthropology, its exhibition reveals a number of recurring issues anthropological museums have to face today. My paper will discuss this – enlightening thorny points, crossroads, solutions and often unsolved open questions Museum of World Cultures exhibition show, beginning with the never-ending, but here crucial too, puzzling matter of artefact shifting status from cultural evidence to artwork, i.e. from anthropological testimony to enchantment and wonder provoker, with all the related and unsettled issues anthropologists are aware of.
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