14.01.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Dealing with difficult heritage, educating on history in South-East Europe

In conjunction with the commemorations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January), the UNESCO Venice Office, in cooperation with the German Historical Museum (Berlin) and the German Commission for UNESCO, is organizing an international workshop on “Dealing with difficult heritage, educating on history” for South-East European museum experts in Berlin, at the German Historical Museum, on 27-28 January 2011.

 This workshop is organized on the occasion of the international exhibit “Hitler and the Germans. Nation and Crime” currently shown at the German Historical Museum (15 October 2010-27 February 2011). 

How does a museum and a nation deal with a legacy? How are contemporary identities negotiated? How can a history museum bring a national community to examine and seek answers to collective questions?  Who is included and excluded? Is a history museum a place of reconciliation?

The meeting will address three main topics: A museum’s mission and interrelated roles: dealing with “difficult heritage” issues in historical museums; The making of a historical exhibit: financing; preparation; exhibition’s design; approaches and methods; pedagogical tools; communication and outreach activities; The social and educational role of a history museum: educating on history and building shared memories.

This workshop will offer an opportunity to reflect on the educational and civic role of history museums, and the methods by which, through innovative museology, museum and heritage professionals seek to analyze, remember, and contextualize difficult periods in a national community’s history. It will serve as a platform of work and discussion for museum curators from the South East European region on how to deal in history museums with “difficult heritage” and conflicting memory discourses, in particular in relation to issues of crime, violence. Beyond, it will serve to raise awareness on the significance and understanding of the Holocaust, through quality education, intercultural dialogue, and innovative museology.

Will participate in the workshop senior representatives and chief curators from the German Historical Museum, as well as museum directors and experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey. Are also invited representatives of international organizations (Council of Europe), directors and high level experts from other European museum and professional institutions (Peace Memorial in Caen, France; National Museum of the Risorgimento in Turin, Italy; International Association of Museums of History).

This workshop is a first follow-up to the international conference on “National History Museums in Southeast Europe: learning history, building shared memories” (Thessaloniki, Greece, 18-19 October 2010), recently organized by the UNESCO Venice Office, and is part of UNESCO’s overall strategy to promote education for sustainable development, heritage and dialogue.




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