Private Archives, Introspective Archaeology

Research on the topic of Bánk and the subsequent organisation of this exhibtion have been made possible through the self-documentary habits of former campers. The foundations of the collection seen here derive from private archives: souvenirs, visual material, various writings, personal effects, and diaries with daily entries spanning forty summers – the material and documentary legacy of Eszter Leveleki and her campers as relates to Bánk, its ordinary days, its celebrations, and its atmosphere of wonder. Much of the collection comes to the exhibition pre-sorted, systematised, and annotated. As source material for a museum display, these aggregations of annually kept summer journals and photo albums, rounded out by later remembrances and interviews, are bodies of documentation that can be superimposed within the exhibition space to produce scenes of life, portraits of people, and accounts of events that suggest at least one possible interpretation of the experience – personal and communal – that was the summer camp in Bánk. And while the attempt to present such an interpretation has been made before, this is, nevertheless, the first experiment in employing research, documentation, and the venue of the museum to this end.