Literary Museums - Anna Akhatova Museum
Letter I have written to Museum Practice
I was very interested to read your stimulating article 'Poetic Justice' about the Anna Akhmatova Museum in the spring 2007 issue of Museum Practice. It addressed the problem that faces the literary version of the 'personalia museum' in balancing the narrative strands necessary to make a satisfactory Museum experience. Firstly, there is the life story of the person with all the associated 'memorabilia' to deal with. Secondly is the desire to recreate to recreate room settings to reflect the lifestyle of the writer and thirdly and most difficult to achieve is the need to reflect something of the writers work in a three dimensional space.
Your earlier article about the Thomas Mann Buddenbrookhaus reviewed in the Winter 2003 issue showed one innovative approach to building in a element of the literature into a personalia museum. This latest article continues the literary theme. But what was impressive about the Anna Akhmatova Museum was that they have successfully added a further strand as they also attempt to also deal with the everyday life of the people who lived in the same communal block as the artist. That the Museum manages to keep these many plates successful spinning is, surely, a great credit to the designers.
It does offer a way forward for literary museums which are often of the 'shrine' type, an unsatisfactory blend of recreated rooms and memorabilia, and show how a museum can successfully deal with life, work and environment and still provide a satisfactory contextual experience..
Director the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Lecturer at Central Saint Martins