Studying Emerging New Contexts for Museum Digitisations on Pinterest


  • Bodil Axelsson
  • Daniel Holmer
  • Lars Ahrenberg
  • Arne Jönsson



Topic modelling, Museum digitisations, Pinterest, Context interpretation, Viking


In a SweClarin cooperation project we apply topic modelling to the texts found with pins in Pinterest boards. The data in focus are digitisations of Viking Age finds from the Swedish History Museum and the underlying research question is how they are given new contextual meanings in boards. We illustrate how topic modelling can support interpretation of polysemy and culturally situated meanings. It expands on the employment of topic modelling by accentuating the necessity of interpretation in every step of the process from capturing and cleaning the data, to modelling and visualisation. The paper concludes that the national context of digitisations of Viking Age jewellery in the Swedish History Museum’s collection management system is replaced by several transnational contexts in which Viking Age jewellery is appreciated for its symbolical meanings and decorative functions in contemporary genres for re-imagining, reliving and performing European pasts and mythologies. The emerging contexts on Pinterest also highlight the business opportunities involved in genres such as reenactment, neo-paganism, lajv and fantasy. The boards are clues to how digitisations serve as prototypes for replicas.