Telling by Showing: Early Twentieth Century Exhibitions as Advocates in Energy Transition Processes


As agents of knowledge and appropriators of technology, exhibitions (and most notably museum exhibitions) have played an important role in the early twentieth century, when gas and electricity, the quintessential modern energy sources, aimed to oust wood, coal, and peat while simultaneously competing intensely with each other. Displaying and arranging objects, texts, and images are acts of interpretation. In this way, exhibitions and the stakeholders in them exercise a mediating influence in the process of energy transition. This article looks in particular at the Munich Gas Exhibition of 1914.