New futures for old collections: Contemporary collecting and community involvement at the National Museum of Denmark

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In recognition of altered global relations since colonial times, the Ethnographic Collections at the National Museum of Denmark have identified a need to redefine their role in society. The Ethnographic Collections explore new ways of activating old collections – ways, which include contemporary collecting, co-curation and dialogue with the communities from where the collections derive. Through three recent projects, this paper revolves around questions such as: How can we make associations between the old collections and contemporary society? How do we prioritize, when collecting the contemporary? And how do we ensure that community involvement not only challenges the authority of museums, but also informs museological practices in new and constructive ways?
Original languageEnglish
JournalMuseums and Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)275-293
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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