The Early 20th Century Skušek Collection
Keywords:Ivan Skušek, Tsuneko Kondo-Kawase/Marija Skušek, lived-in museum, apartment museum, early 20th century East Asian collections
The paper focuses on an aspect of the history of the collection of Ivan Skušek Jr., an early 20th century Slovenian collector that has not yet been looked at thoroughly, namely, its “apartment” period, the time when the collection was on display in three consecutive apartments Ivan Skušek Jr. and his Japanese wife lived in. Due to the failed plans to establish a museum, the collection ended up being on display in lived spaces for the entire period between their arrival to Ljubljana and Marija Skušek’s passing, all together for 43 years—much longer than it was ever displayed in museum settings. The paper focuses on the way a lived space functioned as a setting for the display of the collection and how this combination created a place for communication, appropriation and knowledge acquisition—how the collection was lived in, lived with and lived through. The analysis thus reflects on the implications of the setting of the lived-in museum: how it impacted the collection and its parts, how it conditioned the lives of its owners and how this mode of presentation influenced the reception of the visitors. In the second part of the paper, the analysis is based on specific material—Skušek’s archive that was recently analysed in the Slovenian Ethnographic museum collections, including a number of photographs of the interiors of the apartments.
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