Ghost Stories of the British Museum
Noah Angell & Francis Gooding
03.12.2016 – 15.07.2017
Ghost Stories of the British Museum documents the rich oral tradition of haunted spaces, unquiet objects and inexplicable occurrences that has long circulated privately among British Museum staff. Based on interviews and correspondence with former and current employees, the material which forms the basis for this exhibition is the secret, internal folklore of the British Museum.
Newly gathered material is now being featured in the installation at Rib. A further elaborated mapping of incidents, paper and photographic ephemera, and excerpts from recent interviews evidence a deepening engagement with this lore. Material will be added regularly until the year-long exhibition concludes on the 17th of November, at which point this material will find new outlets as material continues to be excavated.
In documenting the once-private oral culture of hauntings at the museum, the Ghost Stories project provides new ways of thinking about museums – as sites of conflict, where the convergence of disparate objects and histories are materially “mixing up the spirits” as one informant put it, yielding a situation in which objects protest their own conditions of display.
Ghost Stories of the British Museum is a long-term project whose cumulative outcome is coextensive with the rest of Rib’s program.
Lucy Cotter has written “The Afterlife of the British Museum,” which is informed by the interview material gathered by Angell & Gooding and by a conversation with Rib director Maziar Afrassiabi. The essay has been published by Mousse Magazine.
Noah Angell and Francis Gooding will be present for the launch of the exhibition. In conversation with director Maziar Afrassiabi, they will tell some of the stories they have gathered and discuss the implications that the project holds for thinking about the museum as a site of conflict, residual trauma, and recalcitrant objects which protest their own conditions of display.
Supported by Gemeente Rotterdam.