Multispecies Worlds in the Museum

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Michaela Katharina Fenske Julius Maximilian University

Search for other papers by Michaela Katharina Fenske in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Sophie Elpers Meertens Institute sophie.elpers@meertens.knaw.nl

Search for other papers by Sophie Elpers in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

A wolf stands in the middle of the exhibition room. Although the animal’s size is quite intimidating, and the mouth is slightly open, showing its sharp teeth, it looks strangely kind. Facing the showcase that surrounds the animal stands a long-haired girl, probably around six years old. Fascinated by the animal, she comes as close to the showcase as possible, seeming to want to touch the stuffed and musealized animal before her. On the one hand, this incidentally observed performance embodies a reinterpretation of the story of the girl and the wolf that goes beyond the popular version of the Grimm brothers. In a manner exemplified by the intrepid little girl standing in front of the showcase, this new version is told in numerous new books addressed to children and young adults: A tough girl is not afraid of yesterday’s monsters, she is instead curious and open to new challenges, enjoys meeting a wolf, or even a wolf pack. On the other hand, the scene in the exhibition room associates the fact that people today also still seem susceptible to “Little Red Riding Hood syndrome”, as they are faced with news about wolves coming close to kindergartens in urban settings.

  • Collapse
  • Expand