'Believe me, I remain': Encountering Mary's wedding dress

Mitchell, Liz (2014) 'Believe me, I remain': Encountering Mary's wedding dress. In: How Do We Study Objects? – Analyses in Artefact Studies, 8-9 May 2014, Helsinki, Finland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper explores themes of sensoriality, intimacy, expertise and authenticity in the encounter with objects in the context of the museum. Its subject is a nineteenth century dress in the collection at Manchester City Galleries. An object in poor physical condition, with little verifiable provenance, and regarded curatorially as of minor historical significance in terms of design, material or manufacture, it occupies the status of 'secondary' or 'reserve' material in the institution's hierarchies of value. And yet. In taking an autoethnographic approach to my encounter with this particular object, in the role of curator-turned-historian, this paper explores the affective qualities of material things and their potential for facilitating historical insight. It prioritises the bodily and emotional responses material things can evoke, particularly when unencumbered by prior authoritative explanation, and the ways in which reflection on such responses can make valuable contributions both to historical knowledge and individual self-awareness.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: encounter, dress, museums, museum stores, gender, dress history, material culture, collecting
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Fine and Applied Art (up to 30th April 2018)
Depositing User: Liz Mitchell
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2018 15:05
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 15:05
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2389

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