Museums and Spontaneous Memorials

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Museums and Spontaneous Memorials is an in-depth, contextualised, and longitudinal study of the formation, use, and legacy of collections of spontaneous memorials in museums after terrorist attacks or disasters, their impact on museum policy and practice, and their role in shaping people’s perceptions of the original events. Such an examination is significant, timely, and internationally relevant, because of the growing frequency of spontaneous memorialisation around the world, the role of museums in constructing personal and collective memories of the related events by collecting spontaneous memorials, and the challenges these spontaneous memorials pose to established museum practices.

Drawing on Arvanitis’ research in several international case studies and on theories of ethics of care, affective and emotional labour, and digital materiality, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of practices of collecting, documenting, exhibiting and engaging the public with collections of spontaneous memorials. It also examines how institutional identities impact on and are impacted by spontaneous memorials, their role in how the associated events are remembered, the digital lives of spontaneous memorials, and the psychological impact they have on museum professionals and the public alike.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2025


  • spontaneous memorials
  • collecting
  • ethics of care
  • digital materiality
  • memorials
  • memory
  • cultural trauma


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