The interpretation of prehistoric visual expression in indoor museums

Aldo Renato Daniele Accardi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Representing Prehistory in museums, with all the contradictions that the term “representation” may imply, is always very controversial from the interpretative point of view, implicating a series of different philosophical and scientific positions, both on Prehistory itself, and on the way of introducing it to the public, particularly today with the resurfacing of the need to dedicate some attention also to the social and the so-called “immaterial” contexts, to the myths, the rites, the cults, to the interpretation of life and nature, overcoming the obsolete concept of the museums exposing manufactured articles. In the long decontestualization process of the objects involving, unfortunately, every kind of museum, the merely “academic” preparations are slowly giving in to new orientations, divided into purely aesthetical, interpretative and communicative requests. The traces of the most distant Prehistory, particularly with regard to the so-called prehistoric and tribal art, are in fact as “conceptually” fascinating, as they are poor from the merely “objectual” point of view. Among the non-literate peoples visual expression has undoubtedly constituted the first medium of communication, but simultaneously it has been the source of a primordial language and a crucial part of the human identity. This immense patrimony of art expressions, both movables and immovables, has to be understood in order to transmit messages, to help on the pre-literated history of humanity. The museums illustrating the most ancient traces and bringing, above all, the human beings that left those same traces to the ephemeral life of the exposure, are perpetually standing on a borderline between the necessities to tell and not to invent, between the demands of the language in a contemporary museum and the concern to surpass scant archaeological finds.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The interpretation of prehistoric visual expression in indoor museums'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this