Curating an authentic past

The concept of the open-air museum was formed from the desire to preserve architectural heritage and aestheticise the past. This aesthetic approach to landscape grew out of the ideals of nationalism and romanticism. However, as shifting notions of culture and identity change, our understanding of landscape has shifted from the symbolic and scenographic, to the lived and dialogic. As a result, the role of the openair
museum in the future is uncertain. In this context, this thesis examines Kizhi State Open-air museum in Northern Russia. It explores how it’s symbolic image has been formed, idealised and commodified, and discusses how this aesthetic image has disconnected the museum from its surroundings. This thesis challenges the existing model used by the museum to represent the past through its architecture,and reconsiders the role of the curator to explore its place in the future.

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