The Freud Museum

Events Archive

28 September 2011
7pm

Talk: House/Museum

Dr Anthony Hudek

Dr Antony Hudek, Mellon Research Fellow at University College London, will explore some of the thought provoking issues around how homes, such as the Freud family home at 20 Maresfield Gardens, become museums.

When, and how, does a house become a museum – a ‘house museum’? How does this passage from one function to another affect the visitor’s experience? Taking Freud’s 1919 text ‘Das Unheimliche’ (‘The Uncanny’) as point of departure, this presentation seeks to identify what subsists, what survives when a house turns into a museum: the ghosts of its former occupants, the archive (once a personal collection of papers, books, memorabilia), and a sense (reassuring or unsettling) of domesticity.

But Freud’s text does more than provide a useful guide to what lingers in the house museum, in particular his own. It plays out the paradox of the uncanny: that if the house museum, like the psychoanalytic text, depends on the veracity of its portrayal of the subjective matter it tries to exhibit/expose, it can only do so in the fractured guise of theatre and fiction, lest it fall prey to the very myths and phantasies its stated mission it is to dispel.

This talk is part of the Museum’s 25th anniversary programme.

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