Ethnographic Objects on The Cold War Front: The Tangled History of a London Museum Collection

Magdalena Buchczyk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
360 Downloads (Pure)


This article draws attention to the often-overlooked European collections residing in ethnographic museums. An anthropological critique of European holdings can serve as a pathway to explorations of unconsidered complex histories of exchange and the backstage of the political relations that underpinned their movement and display.

The analysis unravels the historical context of a collection of museum artefacts in the light of the British-Romanian post-war relations. The museum’s holdings are unpacked through archival study of the events that led to their collection, including the cultural exchanges of the 1950s and the myriad institutional and personal encounters that informed their collection and original display. Investigation of the historical context of the objects’ arrival in London reveals the importance of their performance on the Cold War cultural stage, where acts of exhibiting and giving away museum artefacts across the Iron Curtain became a pretext for building diplomatic relations and creating particular representations of the state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalMuseum Anthropology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Mobilizing Museum Anthropology


  • Museums
  • Ethnography
  • History
  • Cold War


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnographic Objects on The Cold War Front: The Tangled History of a London Museum Collection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this