Visualising the Imageless Past: Film and Audio-Visual Media in Archaeological Museums

Andrea Haller


This paper focuses on the use of film and audio-visual media in an exhibition context, as a means  for mediating the objects of culture on display, which in turn supports the narration of the exhibition. The paper focuses on two German museums, one of archaeology and the other of prehistory, to examine exhibition practices through the different functions of audio-visual media. How does audio-visual media help to visualise the past? How do they contribute to unveil the immaterial side, i.e. the “meaning” and significance of the objects on display? What kind of picture does the synergy between material objects and audio-visual media paint of our ancestors? Moreover, how can audio-visual media help museums to deal with the basic problem of archaeology (and historiography in general) and the representation of history? Finally, in what ways are audio-visual media used to inform the discipline and methods of archaeology, as a process for gaining knowledge?

The analysis will demonstrate how the exhibition spaces of prehistory museums have distinct ways of integrating moving images, thus reflecting the different attitudes they have towards the materiality and mediality of the museum object and, as a consequence, the representation of history in the museum space.


Film in museums; Media in museums; Prehistory museums; Museums Analysis; Representation of history in museums

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/8402


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Copyright (c) 2018 Andrea Haller

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