Once upon a time in Berlin, there was a colossal statue of Lenin. His head alone weighed 3.5 metric tons. The statue was dedicated in 1970 (Lenin's 100th birthday), dismantled under the new regime in 1991, and condemned to be buried in a nearby forest, where it still lies to this very day. Now it is meant to go into a permanent exhibition; that is, it was meant to, until the Senate suddenly and mysteriously decided to forbid it just two weeks ago. (All of this is reported in an excellent Berliner Zeitung article.) Once the Senate ends its summer recess and comes back to the issue on September 23, I will be following this story, hoping that it ends the way it should: with this amazing piece of art on show, teaching visitors about the vicissitudes of power and the concomitant struggles over putting objects on display!
One of the most frequent recommendations made by young visitors for improving museum galleries is to add music (at least, in one recent idea competition held by the Berlin Museums). Bringing music into a display is not just a way to entice a generation that craves nearly nonstop aural stimulation; it can enhance the display and the visitor experience across the board. One example that struck me is shown above, in the Musée de Marrakech in Morocco. I hadn't even noticed the instrumental music playing in the central courtyard until seeing the sign above, which informs the visitor, "You can buy this music on CD in the bookshop." What a nice idea! It draws attention to the music, increases the visitor's sensory perception of the whole space, and (ideally) generates revenue in the shop. What's more, the music suits the display and even the museum as a whole insofar as it too is a product of cultural heritage, which is the focal point of this museum.
Ideas on Display
A humble space to reflect on concepts of museum display as enacted across a wide range of subjects, countries, and approaches.