7th International Conference on Gender Studies: GENDER, SPACE, PLACE & CULTURE, Gazimagusa, Kıbrıs (Kktc), 10 - 12 Ekim 2019, ss.16
The social constructions of gender are continuously reproduced through the arrangement of spaces. Museums are one such important site to critically assess how public space can play a role to reinforce gender dichotomies. Previous studies have highlighted the gender-blind or gender-neutral nature of the museums that are critical sites of reproducing the constructions of ‘manhood’ and ‘womanhood’ (Porter, 1995). In this paper, applying the feminist methodology on content analysis, we critically analyse the arrangement of space and artefacts in the Kayseri Archaeology Museum in Kayseri Province of Turkey. It is an empirical study and examines the representation of history through display, arrangement and texts as the contents of the museum. In addition to physically visiting the museum for data collection, we also interviewed the museum curator and staff to integrate their perspectives into our observations. Our analysis shows that contrary to the existing notion of conservativeness in this central Anatolian region, the arrangement of the museum is quite gender-conscious. The study site remains a resourceful institution to enrich the understanding of women’s lives and their important contributions in the ancient Assyrian and Anatolian civilizations. The display highlights women’s legal and political rights and affiliations with major space allocations. This conscious choice of placing and prioritizing women and their objects at the forefront of the museum ensured women’s visibility beyond the traditionally defined scopes through decorative and wearable artefacts.