Museum of Imaginary Works? Displaying and Performing Music Historiography

Melanie Strumbl, PhD Candidate


The dissertation project focuses on the performative practices of displaying music historiography and the practices of exhibiting. The exhibition will be placed in the context of world fairs in the 19th century, as well as in the exhibition and museum culture at that time. Using concepts and methods from Museology and Museum Studies allows an investigation and reinterpretation of the catalogs and of the print journalism reporting on the event. Thus, the project draws heavily upon an eclectic array of inter- and transdisciplinary theory which makes it possible to permeate the Viennese Music and Theater Exhibition from a multifaceted perspective. As part of a museological study, specific attention will therefore be paid to the affective qualities of museum objects and how they are placed and arranged. Furthermore, the project wants to demonstrate how the concept of space, the affective qualities of the displayed objects, and the notion of atmosphere in relation to the aesthetic experience of the visitors coalesce. Ultimately, one of the main hypotheses is that the fashion in which music historiography was displayed at the exhibition, had a long-lasting impact on the reception and production of music as well as on the construction of music historiography and has been firmly anchored in our cultural memory by means of deliberate display practices.