Stefan Cammeraat




Gloom, 2018

Gloom is a revised and repurposed edition of John Cotton Dana's 'The gloom of the museum', originally released in 1917.

Being a great influence on American museum history, aiming to make museums more useful and approachable to a wider public- it struck me that Dana's text was aimed at a readership of museum directors and curators rather than the very public he wished to attract to museums.

This edition revises some elements of his text, mainly by removing parts which have become obsolete either through the passage of time or through an intended shift from its original readership (directors, curators) towards a more general public. Additionally, I provided a foreword, to give some form of context to this text.

While Dana's original text is aimed at early 20th century American museums specifically, I believe his statements hold true even stronger in Europe, where tradition is much more deeply embedded into museum culture. And while over a hundred years have passed, I believe J.C. Dana's remarks remain relevant, and the difficulties of the public function of a museum poignant as ever.

The publication is spread around parts of the city where this piece is displayed, where I believe its contents are of most use.

You can find the original here.