Thomas Thiemeyer

Staging (“Inszenierung”) and Scenography. On the Scent of a Basic Concept of the Museum and his Challenger

Auf den Spuren eines Grundbegriffs des Museums und seines Herausforderers


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Since the 1980s, the term staging (“Inszenierung”) has evolved into a fundamental concept of the museum discussion. Curators use it frequently, when they explain their arrangements of objects. The ubiquity of its usage comes along with the diversity of ideas about what staging (“Inszenierung”) in the museum actually means. This is where this article starts from and tries to sort discussions and ideas, by first tracing the conceptual history of the (museum-related) conception of staging (“Inszenierung”). Secondly, it identifies features that characterize the staging (“Inszenierung”) in the exhibition room today, and finally, it discusses the related term scenography. The concept of staging (“Inszenierung”), so the thesis of the article, reached museums in Germany in the course of the educational reform in the 1970s, when the museums tried to attract generally interested visitors from all social classes and increasingly wanted to tell stories by reference to everyday objects. Only recently staging (“Inszenierung”) has become the central concept of the German museum discourse.

staging, scenography, museum, exhibition, theatre, performativity