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Infinity on Trial: why do we keep museum collections, and why do we collect?

27 February 2014
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
This paper will examine why on the one hand museums feel it necessary to keep material 'in perpetuity', and on the other hand why many of them have almost ceased collecting. It is suggested that museums, as 'memory institutions' need to learn how to forget, and that by disposing of some of their collections, they will free up mental and actual space to begin collecting again. The paper will draw upon psychological and anthropological notions of memory and forgetting to construct a framework in which disposal from museums can be viewed, and will set out what a new kind of post-colonial 'relational' collecting might look like.
Merriman, Nick