Museum Matters: Making and Unmaking Mexico’s National Collections

Editat de Miruna Achim, Susan Deans-Smith, Sandra Rozental
en Limba Engleză Hardback – 24 aug 2021
This is a book about objects. Stones, ruins, bones, mummies, mannequins, statues, photographs, fakes, instruments, and natural history specimens all formed part of Mexico’s National Museum complex at different moments across two centuries of collecting and display.

Museum Matters traces the emergence, consolidation, and dispersal of this national museum complex by telling the stories of its objects. Objects that have been separated over time are brought back together in this book in order to shed light on the interactions and processes that have forged things into symbols of science, aesthetics, and politics. The contributors to this volume illuminate how collections came into being or ceased to exist over time, or how objects moved in and out of collections and museum spaces. They explore what it means to move things physically and spatially, as well as conceptually and symbolically.

Museum Matters unravels the concept of the national museum. By unmaking the spaces, frameworks, and structures that form the complicated landscape of national museums, this volume brings a new way to understand the storage, displays, and claims about the Mexican nation’s collections today.

Miruna Achim, Christina Bueno, Laura Cházaro, Susan Deans-Smith, Frida Gorbach, Haydeé López Hernández, Carlos Mondragón, Bertina Olmedo Vera, Sandra Rozental, Mario Rufer

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ISBN-13: 9780816539574
ISBN-10: 081653957X
Pagini: 312
Ilustrații: 57 b&w illustrations, 2 tables
Dimensiuni: 152 x 229 x 23 mm
Greutate: 0.57 kg
Editura: University of Arizona Press
Colecția University of Arizona Press

Notă biografică

Miruna Achima is an associate professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa in Mexico City. She is the author of From Idols to Antiquity: Forging the National Museum of Mexico.

Susan Deans-Smith is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the co-editor of Race and Classification: The Case of Mexican America.

Sandra Rozental is an associate professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa in Mexico City. Her research explores national patrimony, cultural property, and conflicting claims generated by the extraction of archaeological objects from local contexts.



“This exciting new volume gathers penetrating new studies on the formation of Mexico’s national collections, from antiquities to natural history specimens. The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the formation of museums, particularly how such institutions participate in the production of knowledge over time. Filled with strikingly original and important contributions, the volume will be widely read by scholars in history, anthropology, museum studies, art history, archaeology, and other related fields.”—Joanne Pillsbury, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Museum Matters mines the vast collections of material culture in Mexico’s museological archipelago. Through its focus on objects—some fake, some lost, some devalued or deaccessioned over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—the volume lays the groundwork for new directions in Mexican history while also complicating discourses that view the museum as a totalizing instrument of state authority and control. Rather than focus exclusively on Mexico’s spectacular collections of archaeology and fine art, this volume emphasizes other material domains, such as human remains, taxidermy, glass models, and natural specimens, to name only a few. The essays are generative as they mine the archives of Mexicanidad, offering critical insights, new horizons, and even radical opportunities for revaluing or intervening in how the nation displays and constitutes its museological patrimony.”—Mary K. Coffey, author of How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture: Murals, Museums, and the Mexican State



Museum Matters tells the story of Mexico’s national collections through the trajectories of its objects. The essays in this book show the many ways in which things matter and affect how Mexico imagines its past, present, and future.