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Wednesday, November 10 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Automobile Archaeology and the Museum

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Our disposable culture, obsessed with the newest, new thing recycles, reprocesses and recovers unwanted “old” things leaving nothing. Our modern material heritage is literally going up in smoke at waste-to-energy plants. Nothing of our time is being left for future generations to find. An archaeological point of view is the best lens through which to examine the relationship of humans to the making, and use, in the broadest sense, of automobiles.  Archaeological evidence, the indicia of particularity impounded in the material fabric of automobiles tells us about the people who used or experienced a particular automobile, as well as the culture and the tenor of the time in which it was used independent of documentation, or even absent documentation. These traces we find in the present are the stuff of archaeology. But the archaeological automobile has a dual nature: it is matter and motion. Like musical instruments, watches or submarines, the automobiles are incomprehensible unless experienced in operation.  While “originality of state” is the commonly perceived focus of curation, we can also find vital narratives in the operating automobile as well. Let us also recognize that the automobile is a site human activity as much as any site-based structure. Indeed, the automobile is an archaeological locus, a particular, common, and rich contemporary place. Simultaneously, the automobile can also be an artifact of immense beauty, technical elegance and a repository of all that is great in the human mind and spirit.


Miles C. Collier

President, Revs Institute
Miles C. Collier is a philanthropist, an investor and a practicing artist. He has long been an advocate of the automobile as the most significant artifact of the 20th century. He is the Founder of Revs Institute®, with his wife, Parker J. Collier. This private, working museum houses... Read More →

Wednesday November 10, 2021 11:30am - 12:00pm EST
Revs Institute - Main

Attendees (3)