Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Media Traditions: Scrapbooking, Memory Archives, and Self-Presentation

Basil Thompson Childhood Scrapbook pg19.jpeg

Why do we wish to be remembered, even when none remain who looked upon our face? Surely, though it must retain an element of self-consideration, it is a last acknowledgment that we need to be loved; and having gone from all touch, we trust that memory may, as it were, keep unseen presence within the borders of day.

--William Soutar

Diaries of a Dying Man, August 13, 1943


When one decides to create a memory book, going about the effort to bring together a scrapbook’s assemblage, a journal’s record, a commonplace book’s chosen information, a photo album’s visual documentation, or a diary’s narrative, one is constructing and presenting identity to some imagined current or future audience.

The social network sites of today offer much the same outlet that memory archiving and scrapbooking once did.  Users create personal media assemblages sharing information, photographs, experiences, artworks, quotes, and beliefs presenting their identity to an audience online.

As you view this exhibit, we ask you to contemplate the connections between the memory archives of the past and the contemporary modes of self-presentation we use today.  Drawing correlations between picture-heavy travel abroad scrapbook from 1963 and a present-day Instagram account, or between a collection of friends’ autographs from 1879 and a string of birthday wishes on a Facebook wall.  In this mode, the viewer can explore both how and why we collectively “wish to be remembered” through our ever-evolving media traditions.

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