The pitfalls and problems of museum documentation of the contemporary tramping movement

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Abstract

Even though the tramping subculture forms a part of Czech society for nearly a century, it only gained the attention of the museums and other memory institutions, aside from some exceptions, over the last three decades. The paper examines both previous research on the history and on the present status of the tramping movement in the Czech and Slovak Republics, and the general theoretical and methodological problems it raises. These include, among others, assessing the importance of individual tramping groups defined locally, socially and by generation; the fragmentary makeup of sources resulting predominantly from the private nature of the tramping and, finally, choosing the appropriate methods when documenting and archiving findings. It focuses, furthermore, on ethical problems of such a research and assesses the blurred boundaries between tramping and other forms of grouping or staying outdoors. The present paper is based on the experience of documenting the tramping movement in the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum and within the grant project of the Department of Czech History in the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.

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