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Maternal heritage: remembering mothering and motherhood through material culture


Pascoe Leahy, C, Maternal heritage: remembering mothering and motherhood through material culture, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27, (10) pp. 991-1010. ISSN 1352-7258 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Carla Pascoe Leahy

DOI: doi:10.1080/13527258.2021.1893792


New motherhood is mediated through the material world. In this liminal, vulnerable period of matrescence, consumption of and interaction with objects co- constitutes the mother and her child. Material culture is central to motherhood, as mothers negotiate preparation, mastery and memorialisation of their maternal role through objects. While some objects are used once then discarded, other objects are saved for longer periods, either by individuals within private collections or by curators in cultural institutions. In preserving certain aspects of the material culture with which mothers interact, a form of maternal heritage is created which is inescapably partial. This article examines the ways in which mothers, mothering and motherhood are preserved and memorialised in public and private collections. It analyses maternal material culture in cultural institutions alongside personal archives, drawing out the synchronies and divergences between them as well as the ways in which material culture has changed since the mid-twentieth century. It concludes by discussing the ways in which the maternal heritage constituted through institutional and private archiving makes possible certain aspects of the history of mothers while obscuring others.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:history, heritage, mother, maternal, museum, material culture, mothering, motherhood, matrescence
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Heritage, archive and museum studies
Research Field:Critical heritage, museum and archive studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148733
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-03-03

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