‘Hidden from view’?: An analysis of the integration of women’s history and women’s voices into Australia’s social history exhibitions

Journal article


Cramer, Lorinda and Witcomb, Andrea. (2019). ‘Hidden from view’?: An analysis of the integration of women’s history and women’s voices into Australia’s social history exhibitions. International Journal of Heritage Studies. 25(2), pp. 128 - 142. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1475409
AuthorsCramer, Lorinda and Witcomb, Andrea
Abstract

‘Women have mostly been left out of history’, boldly asserted Elizabeth Willis in her exhibition text for The Story of Victoria in 1985. Taking Willis’ statement as a starting point, this article aims to trace firstly how women have been rewritten into Australia’s social history exhibitions focusing on the use of voice as a strategy to do so, and secondly how these voices have changed historical master narratives – by allowing a shift from a big picture history to intimate and deeply personal stories that recast our understanding of the past in ways that are inclusive of gendered experiences. We investigate the use of the curatorial voice as reflected in Willis’ work, aligning it with the notion of curatorial activism, before exploring the changing curatorial practices that expanded the potential for an interpretive approach that incorporated the voice of the subjects themselves as a central component in the telling of history. We then analyse the impact of these strategies on traditional understandings of the past through three exhibitions developed by Melbourne Museum over 30 years: The Story of Victoria, a successor exhibition The Melbourne Story, and their Great War centenary exhibition, WWI: Love & Sorrow.

KeywordsAustralian history; feminist history; women; exhibition interpretation; voice
Year2019
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Journal citation25 (2), pp. 128 - 142
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1352-7258
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1475409
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85047269286
Page range128 - 142
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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