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Thursday, May 12 • 11:15am - 11:30am
Innovation in Museum Making: The Museum of Fictional Literary Artifacts

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Fictional objects, like characters, linger with readers in ways similar to material ones. Marketers recognize the pull of these objects, offering physical versions such as the necklace worn by Rose in Titanic or the light-sabres whipped around by characters in Star Wars. What became of the piano in D.H. Lawrence’s poem? The portrait of Dorian Gray? Dracula’s wooden stake? Our museum collects these objects and represents them with photos, explanatory notes, context, and provenance. Where was the object originally, and how did we get it?

The objects chosen to serve in a fictional work are remarkable. Material objects, and the effort to control them, own them, manipulate them, and leave them behind, help to catapult plots and develop characters. The novel Huckleberry Finn, for example, leaves behind a boot with a crossed heel, a bloody saw dabbed with hair, a hairball, a girl’s dress, and a bullet on a string. Just to name a few. Imagine the collection of girl’s dresses that might appear in a museum of this type. Or the knives, daggers, axes, spears, and penknives that sit side by side for comparison.

John Nelson, Professor of English for New Media, and Stacey Berry, Associate Professor of English for New Media will discuss The Museum of Fictional Literary Artifacts (http://mfla.omeka.net/), a digital thematic research collection they are currently developing at Dakota State University. The site provides students and scholars, in any level or field, the humanistic and technological experience in writing, collecting, editing and thinking critically about material artifacts in fictional (and real) worlds. Gathering hundreds of fictional items--from diverse works and from many periods and genres into one searchable database--allows us to consider these fictional artifacts--and their sources--in entirely new ways.


Thursday May 12, 2016 11:15am - 11:30am
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

Attendees (20)