Diversities Claimed, Displayed and Silenced

Encounters at the new Estonian National Museum

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa University of Tartu elo-hanna.seljamaa@ut.ee

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Inspired by Barbro Klein’s research on silences and exclusions in the Swedish folklife sphere, this article explores how diversity is handled at the new Estonian National Museum, which opened in 2016. While its permanent exhibition Encounters makes the bold claim of representing the Estonian territory and its inhabitants from the Stone Age to the present day, a closer look at its contents and design suggests that it does so by repeating, sometimes inadvertently, broader societal silences and stereotypes surrounding ethnic minorities past and present and by sustaining essentialist notions of ethnocultural discreteness. Preference is given to historical minorities already included in the Estonian folklife sphere. 

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