Call for Papers for a Special Issue of “Centropa”, 2012 – Museums in Central Europe, 1850-1939

The rise of the exhibitionary complex in nineteenth-century Germany, France and Britain has been the subject of substantial amounts of research. It has been rather less well explored in relation to central Europe. The journal Centropa will therefore be publishing a special issue on museums in Central Europe in 2012. The issue will be examining the development of museums between 1850 and 1939 and their contribution to processes of identity formation during the period in question.

Questions to be addressed will include:

1. What ideological impulses gave rise to the foundation of museums across central Europe?

2. What were the ideological implications of their collecting and exhibition policies?

3. How did their functions and meanings change between 1850 and 1939?

4. How did individual museums position themselves in relation to other institutions? In particular, what was the impact of the major institutions in, the Habsburg centres of Vienna and Budapest on museums elsewhere in central Europe?

5. What role did museums elsewhere across Europe play in shaping museological practice in central Europe?

6. What role did museums play in the wider development of civil society and embourgeoisement? Did they promote alternative social and political visions?

Proposals are invited for papers addressing one or more of these questions.

Papers may wish to discuss the museums of design, art galleries or ethnographic museums established after 1850, or they may wish to examine the metamorphoses of older institutions, such as regional museums (‘Landesmuseen’) or the courtly collections.

Please submit a 300-400 word proposal to Matthew Rampley ( by 31st May 2010.

Matthew Rampley

Department of Art History

University of Birmingham