Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Girl Museum: The World's Only Museum About Girls

It's been heartening to see so much interest in girlhood lately. The 'Colonial Girlhood/Colonial Girls' conference call for papers had a massive response from scholars around the world to the point where the event will be larger than we anticipated, even when trying to restrain its size as much as we can. It will be intriguing to see what the blend of literature scholars, cultural historians, art historians, garden variety historians and even anthropologists will produce.

In the course of organising the conference, I was alerted to the existence of the Girl Museum, which will now contribute to an exciting (and, as yet, secret) event at the conference that will relate to our theme. The virtual museum resembles a traditional museum in that, alongside research, it focuses on preparing exhibitions. Visitors can browse exhibitions on Girlhood in Art (currently featuring Girl Saints and Across Time and Space, a collection of images of girlhood from the beginnings of civilisation) and the Art of Girlhood (which concentrates on material culture, and at present reveals the fascinating customs associated with Hina Matsuri- Girls' Day- in Japan).

These more traditional exhibitions are complemented with unique ways of representing contemporary girlhood. For instance, the Girl for Sale exhibit examines the disturbing subject of trafficking in girls, combining poetry, some written by survivors of trafficking, historical and contemporary art images, and resources for learning more about the facts of trafficking. In its collaborative, interactive spaces at the moment you will find the Heroines Quilt, composed of images of 31 diverse girlhood heroines submitted by members of the public (each was accompanied by a short essay on the Girl Museum's blog), and Becoming Girl, which collects together visual art by Chaya Avramov (complete with an article from the Museum curators that gives a Deleuzian perspective on the Museum and its work).
More news about the collaboration with this unique site soon!