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12 Imagining the Real: Material Evidence and Participatory Past in Nineteenth-Century Lithuania

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Chapter Summary

The growing trust in science and belief in its impartial methods provided men of the Enlightenment with alternative tools for verifying the reality of historical narratives and urged them to do so. In contrast to purposive narratives that represented history, words, customs, and objects appeared as participants and thus witnesses of the past. Speaking for archaeological finds and landscape, interpreting language and folklore lead towards creating participatory, performative, and site-specific models of past. This chapter present a case study dedicated to a model of the past that was embodied within a garden pavilion, which later earned a reputation as the very first Lithuanian museum. It shows this pavilion as an artefact of historical thinking and shall inquire into the motives behind its establishment, its contemporary and later receptions, and attempt to place it within a broader panorama of the quests for the past in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords: archaeological finds; folklore; historical narratives; Lithuanian museum; nineteenth century



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