Lost objects and missing histories: HIV/AIDS in the Netherlands

Manon S. Parry, Hugo Schalkwijk

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Curators and theorists have described HIV/AIDS as one of the most culturally productive phenomena of modern times. The vast array of material generated includes props from protests, artwork, literature, and film, as well as public health campaigns, music, diaries, and performances. Despite the breadth of potential objects, just a few types are most often collected and displayed, limiting the exhibition of the history of HIV/AIDS in significant ways. Much of the material culture museums would need to enrich their accounts of this history and to represent a diversity of perspectives on the impact of the pandemic thus remains unidentified and out of reach. The Netherlands is a particularly instructive example of how the history of HIV/AIDS is being limited and how heritage is being lost, despite widespread recognition of the local and global significance of the AIDS. In thischapter, the authors consider the context for the underrepresentation of AIDS in Dutch archives, museums, and exhibitions and discuss three strategies being used to address the problem: oral histories, a digital scrapbook project, and an AIDS Cultures festival held in conjunction with the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam in July 2018.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMuseums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism
EditorsJoshua G. Adair, Amy K. Levin
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429202889, 9780429511479
ISBN (Print)9780367195090, 9780367195106
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameMuseum Meanings


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