THE MUSEUM OF DREAMS is a hub for exploring the social and political significance of dream-life. We collect and creatively work with dreams from the historical record and provide a platform for collaborative storytelling projects.
There are many different theories about the significance of dream-life. In the most general terms, dreaming can be defined as a hallucinatory experience that occurs under the cover of sleep. The meaning of these experiences has been the subject of philosophical, religious, and scientific speculation throughout human history. Rather than seek a definitive explanation, the Museum's goal is to explore the generative and performative nature of dream-life—all the remarkable ways people have put their dreams to work.
Dreams are a springboard for articulating the things we have trouble expressing, the stories we struggle to voice—to ourselves and to each other.
When we cannot consciously formulate a story, the experience often demands another venue of expression: through dreams, symptoms, or other unconscious actions. There is an urgent need to find ways to incorporate this material into our shared social imaginaries—to identify and integrate what Toni Morrison named the “unspeakable things unspoken." Dream-life provides a venue to think through these difficult, otherwise unrepresentable aspects of our social lives. Indeed, as this collection of dreams aims to show, attending to this imaginary terrain can provide a singular means to regain a measure of freedom in our thought and speech.
Inspired by a broad body of research, our goal is to assemble and extend the vital work that dream-life provides to our social and political worlds. In support of this aim, the Museum is developing partnerships with a variety of individuals and institutions.