Culture, Politics and Museums

Current Anthropology

The Overflow of Secrets:

The Disclosure of Soviet Repression in Museums as an Excess

This article uses the metaphor of overflow to understand the role played by the revelation of previously secret experience in the controversial Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania.  It shows how efforts to disclose Soviet repression and to consolidate and sustain a particular community of survivors, the Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees, produced an “excess” of revelation in a context of radical political change, which in the process led to a failure to represent the complexity of Lithuania’s past, by sidelining the Holocaust in its narrative of repression. In contrast to other studies that understand this Museum as an instrument of a particular governmental ideology, I suggest an alternative explanation of the origins and character of this museum, arguing that it should be understood as a community museum. I argue that the Museum’s failure to provide a balanced presentation of the past is better understood as an effect of an excessive desire to reveal the particular experiences of this community, which I describe as an overflow of meanings, not merely a result of the governmental elite’s will to suppress alternative versions of the past.

Rindzevičiūtė, Eglė. “The Overflow of Secrets: The Disclosure of Soviet Repression in Museums as an Excess”. Current Anthropology vol. 56 (2015): S000–S000. Ahead of print.

Full text here: Current Anthropology

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rodopi european studies

Institutional Entrepreneurs of a Difficult Past:

The Organisation of Knowledge Regimes in Post-Soviet Lithuanian Museums

European Studies, vol. 30 (2013): pp.65-93.

Full text here.

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central europe

Imagining the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: 

The Politics and Economics of the Rebuilding of Trakai Castle and the ‘Palace of Sovereigns’

in Vilnius

Central Europe, vol.8, no. 2 (2010): pp.180-202.

Full text here.

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culture-unbound

Soviet Lithuanians, Amber and the ‘The New Balts’: 

Historical Narratives of National and Regional Identities in Lithuanian Museums, 1940-2009

Culture Unbound, vol.2 (2010): pp.665-694.

Full text available here.

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ARONSSON JKT(240X159)

Geopolitics of Distinction:

Negotiating Regional Spaces in the Baltic Museums

Aronsson P. and GradenL. (eds) Performing Nordic Heritage. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013, pp. 221-246.

Full text here.

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maps_of_memory_z1

Hegemony or Legitimacy?

Assembling Soviet Deportations in Lithuanian Museums

Balkelis T. & Davoliute, V. (eds) Maps of Memory: Trauma, Identity and Exile in Deportation Memoirs from the Baltic States, Vilnius: LLTI, 2012, pp.153-177.

Full text available here.

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eunamus150

National Museums in Lithuania: A Story of State Building (1855-2010)

Aronsson, P. & Elgenius, G. (eds) Building National Museums in Europe 1750–2010. EuNaMus Report No. 1. Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011, pp. 521-52.

Full text available here.