The laboratory-museum: Explorations for a museum of the communist period in Romania
At the end of 2011 The Romanian National Museum Network made public its intention of launching a project for a museum of the communist period in Romania. The starting point for this endeavor was the idea of a laboratory-museum, a concept which goes against the traditional museological practice in Romania where for the most part the museum is still seen as an authoritative and monolithic institution. The point of this project is to work towards a museum format that allows for ideas to be tested and openly discussed while they are being implemented. The laboratory-museum is therefore not a temple (it does not propose or attempt to fixate a narrative for our recent history), but a place that welcomes experimentation and takes a grassroots approach towards building an institution that takes seriously its potential audience. The laboratory-museum does not attempt to transform our recent history in a museum object but aims to facilitate a process of coming to terms with this sensitive time in our past.
Viviana Iacob is board member of The Romanian National Museum Network. She is also currently completing a Ph.D. at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (University of Bucharest) on the implementation of the socialist realist canon in Romanian theatre. She is the author of the laboratory-museum project and she is part of the team that began its implementation in 2012. Her current research interests revolve around subjects such as memorial practices of recent history with a focus on the reception of visual emplotment strategies and performantive practices employed in museums of recent history. Viviana Iacob has been involved in numerous projects that aim at recuperating and documenting material evidence of Romania´s recent past. She has BA in Art History and Theory/Bucharest, Arts University (2003), an MA in Cultural Studies, Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bucharest (2005), and an MA in Theatre History from Illinois State University (2007).
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