About Emma Tramposch’s Thesis Project
Making Memories: Templates, Themes and Imagery in Contemporary Scrapbooks
If you are a scrapbook enthusiast with sufficient financial capital, you can enjoy the following services: a seven night scrapbooking cruise, a class at the traveling Creating Keepsakes University to earn a ‘Masters’ certificate in scrapbooking, shopping at one of the mass expos taking place weekly in the U.S, or logging onto a scrapbook chat forum. Alternately, if all this activity sounds daunting, you can call on an expert–a memory specialist–to come to your home and organize your photographs, keepsakes, and mementos.The popularity of scrapbooking–a three billion dollar business last year–points to the growth of what can be termed a “memory industry” in contemporary culture. A wide range of mass-produced goods from thematic scrapbooking pages to plastic display cases designed to preserve anything from baseballs to collectible cereal boxes serve as predetermined templates for documenting and remembering our lives. As the cultural theorist Andreas Huyssen argues, “how we remember defines us in the present.”
This project examines the commodification of memory in relation to notions of public and private space, individual and collective remembering, and constructions of the self. I consider the memory industry in light of my own memories and experiences of having resided as a child within the large-scale living history museum of Colonial Williamsburg.