Home    Number 6, 2023

Vernacular Museum: Toward the Definition of the Concept

[Vernakuliarnyi muzei: k opredeleniiu poniatiia]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541523060076


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 06.04.2023

Accepted: 12.09.2023

About author(s)

Irina Sleptsova (Kyzlasova) | https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9058-1464 | i_kyzlasova@iea.ras.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)

Elena Chesnokova | https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9815-3042 | chesnokova.eg33@gmail.com | independent researcher (Vladimir, Russia)


vernacular, amateur museums, vernacular museums, folk museumification, grassroots initiatives, individual museum-building practice


The article considers the use of the term vernacular in various fields of humanities and the effectiveness of its utilization as an additional way of describing various types of amateur museums in modern society. An analysis of published works has shown that, regardless of the disciplinary perspective, three key features of this concept stand out. The first feature implies that vernacular is associated with locality, i.e. territorial locality correlates with individual activity. The second feature is characterized through opposition to official social institutions; therefore, vernacular presupposes properties such as informality, independence, and lack of regulation. Finally, the third feature is the great importance of the creative component, due to which the global and institutional are adapted to the individual perception of the world. Museums are considered within the anthropocentric approach as grassroots initiatives aimed at representing individual interests, as well as one of the ways of self-actualization. Despite the fact that the vernacular museum is essentially an individual practice, it refers to those museum spaces in which both the personal stories of living certain events and the narrative patterns of collective memory are presented.

Funding Information

Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant number 23-28-00250]


Sleptsova (Kyzlasova), I.S., and E.G. Chesnokova. 2023. Vernakuliarnyi muzei: k opredeleniiu poniatiia [Vernacular Museum: Toward the Definition of the Concept]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 92–110. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541523060076 EDN: MOLUYD

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