ARCHITECTURE IN THE MUSEUM: DISPLACEMENT, RECONSTRUCTION AND by S. M. Can Bilsel

By S. M. Can Bilsel

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4. On the Historical Method A number of histories have departed from the characteristically obsequious chronicles of German archaeology to put into question the political and ideological aspects of archaeology and museum displays during the Kaiserreich. 36 34 Silke Wenk, Auf den spuren der Antike: Theodor Wiegand, ein deutscher Archäologe (Bendorf: Stadtverwaltung Bendorf / Rhein, 1985). 35 Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Die Berliner Museumsinsel im Deutschen Kaiserreich: Zur Kulturpolitk der Museen in der wilhelminischen Epoche (Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1987).

By reducing the original building to a mainly visual presentation, the Pergamon Museum hinders the structural integrity and constructional logic of architecture, which were dear to Viollet-le-Duc. It is not as if the Hellenistic building is rebuilt in the museum as a freestanding structure, but the museum reconstructs an image of the monument as a tableau vivant, which not only can be seen but also partially occupied by the visitors. We have to be equally cautious about concluding that the exhibits of the museum are a historical décor that reconstructs the originals as “they actually were” in antiquity.

Illuminations (New York: Schocken Books, 1968). I am grateful to Michael Jennings and Thomas Levine for a graduate seminar that focused on the article at Princeton University. 4 Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, The Foundations of Architecture: Selections from the Dictionnaire raisonné, introduction by Barry Bergdoll, translated by Kenneth D. Whitehead (New York : G. Braziller, 1990). 6 representation as evidenced in the historical paintings or panoramas in the 19th century to pinpoint this difference.

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