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Wednesday, November 9 • 9:45am - 10:45am
Automobile Archaeology and the Museum
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.

avatar for Miles C. Collier

Miles C. Collier

President, Revs Institute
Miles C. Collier is Founder of Revs Institute®. He has long been an advocate of the automobile as the most significant artifact of the 20th century. His recent landmark book, The Archaeological Automobile, is his testament of this life-long advocacy. Revs Institute houses the remarkable... Read More →

Wednesday November 9, 2022 9:45am - 10:45am EST
Main Meeting Area