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Kuzma Vladimirov
Kuzma Vladimirov

Exhibiting Europe in Museums: A Historical, Sociological and Museological Perspective on Transnational Networks, Collections, Narratives and Representations


Exhibiting Europe in Museums: Transnational Networks, Collections, Narratives and Representations




Museums of history and contemporary culture face many challenges in the modern age. One is how to react to processes of Europeanization and globalization, which require more cross-border cooperation and communication than ever before. Another is how to develop collections, exhibitions and programs that reflect not only a common European heritage but also its diversity, complexity and dynamism.




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Exhibiting Europe in Museums is a book that explores these challenges from a multidisciplinary perspective. It examines how museums have become arenas for shaping and displaying Europe as a cultural, political and social entity. It also analyzes how museums have been influenced by and have influenced various actors, institutions, initiatives and networks that promote European integration through culture.


The book is written by three scholars from different fields: Wolfram Kaiser, a professor of European studies at Portsmouth University; Stefan Krankenhagen, a professor of cultural studies at Hildesheim University; and Kerstin Poehls, a lecturer in museum studies at Hamburg University. They combine historical, sociological and museological approaches to provide a comprehensive and critical overview of exhibiting Europe in museums.


The book is structured into six chapters, each focusing on a key aspect of exhibiting Europe in museums: musealising, governing, networking, collecting, narrating and crossing Europe. Each chapter presents a theoretical framework, a historical overview and a number of case studies from different European countries and regions. The book also includes an introduction that sets the context and the aims of the book, and a conclusion that summarizes the main findings and implications of the book.


Musealising Europe: Compensation, Negotiation and the Conquest of the Future




This chapter explores how museums emerged as a modern cultural practice in response to processes of Europeanization and globalization. It argues that museums serve as a form of compensation for the loss of a lifeworld overwhelmed by industrialization, economization and the progressive acceleration of life. Museums also serve as a form of negotiation for the construction and communication of narratives of European identity and history. Museums also serve as a form of conquest for the projection and anticipation of future scenarios and visions of Europe.


The chapter traces the development of museums from the eighteenth century to the present day, highlighting the changes and continuities in their functions, forms and contents. It also discusses the challenges and opportunities for museums in a changing and diverse Europe, such as the need to balance between local, national, regional and global perspectives; the need to address multiple and conflicting memories and histories; and the need to foster participation, dialogue and innovation.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of musealising Europe: the Museum Europäischer Kulturen in Berlin, which focuses on everyday cultures and lifestyles in Europe; the House of European History in Brussels, which aims to provide a transnational perspective on European integration history; and the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, which explores the future of humanity in a globalized world.


Governing Europe: State Institutions and European Cultural and Museum Policy




This chapter examines how state actors have shaped the development of European cultural and museum policy since the 1950s. It argues that state actors have played a crucial role in initiating, supporting and regulating various institutions and initiatives that promote European integration through culture and museums. It also argues that state actors have used culture and museums as instruments for pursuing their own interests and agendas, such as enhancing their legitimacy, influence and prestige.


The chapter provides an overview of the main institutions and initiatives that have been involved in European cultural and museum policy, such as the Council of Europe, the European Union, the European Cultural Foundation, the European Museum Forum and Europa Nostra. It also analyzes how these institutions and initiatives have evolved over time, responding to changing political, economic and social contexts and challenges.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of governing Europe through culture and museums: the European Heritage Label, which aims to highlight sites that have a symbolic value for European history and integration; the European Capital of Culture, which aims to showcase the cultural diversity and richness of European cities; and the European Museum Academy, which aims to enhance the quality and innovation of European museums.


Networking Europe: Societal Actors in the Europeanisation of the Museum Field




This chapter investigates how non-state actors such as professional associations, networks, foundations and NGOs have contributed to the Europeanisation of the museum field. It argues that non-state actors have played an important role in creating, maintaining and expanding transnational connections, cooperations and exchanges among museum professionals, visitors and stakeholders. It also argues that non-state actors have influenced and been influenced by various discourses, practices and policies related to exhibiting Europe in museums.


The chapter provides an overview of the main goals and activities of non-state actors in the European museum field, such as promoting professional standards, sharing best practices, providing training and education, advocating for museum interests, raising public awareness and fostering social inclusion. It also analyzes how these actors cooperate and compete with each other, as well as with state actors, in shaping and displaying Europe in museums.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of networking Europe through museums: NEMO (Network of European Museum Organisations), which represents and supports museum associations across Europe; EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture), which fosters cultural cooperation among national cultural institutes in Europe; and LEM (The Learning Museum), which develops lifelong learning programs for museum professionals and visitors.


Collecting Europe: Strategies and Challenges in Transnational Collection Practice




This chapter analyzes how museums collect objects and materials that represent Europe and its diversity. It argues that collecting Europe is a complex and contested process that involves various criteria and methods for selecting, acquiring, documenting and displaying European collections. It also argues that collecting Europe is a dynamic and evolving process that reflects the changing and evolving nature of Europe and its relations with the rest of the world.


The chapter provides an overview of the main strategies and challenges in transnational collection practice, such as developing common criteria and standards, establishing partnerships and networks, overcoming legal and logistical barriers, ensuring provenance and authenticity, respecting ethical and cultural sensitivities, and enhancing accessibility and visibility. It also analyzes how transnational collection practice affects the meanings and values of objects and materials, as well as the identities and memories of collectors and users.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of collecting Europe: the Europeana project, which aims to create a digital platform for accessing European cultural heritage; the Museo Transnacional project, which aims to explore the transnational dimensions of contemporary art collections; and the Museum Without a Home project, which aims to collect and exhibit objects donated by local people to refugees in Europe.


Narrating Europe: The Story and Stories of European Integration




This chapter examines how museums tell the story of European integration from different perspectives and contexts. It argues that narrating Europe is a complex and contested process that involves various narratives, themes and symbols that museums use to portray Europe as a political, economic and social project. It also argues that narrating Europe is a dynamic and evolving process that responds to changing historical circumstances, political agendas and public expectations.


The chapter provides an overview of the main narratives, themes and symbols that museums use to narrate Europe, such as peace, democracy, diversity, unity, progress, crisis, values, rights, citizenship, culture, identity and memory. It also analyzes how museums deal with controversies, conflicts and contradictions in European integration history, such as the role of war and violence, the impact of colonialism and imperialism, the effects of enlargement and migration, the challenges of democracy and legitimacy, and the prospects of solidarity and cohesion.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of narrating Europe: the Museum of European Integration History in Luxembourg, which aims to provide a comprehensive and balanced account of European integration history; the House of European History in Brussels, which aims to provide a transnational and critical perspective on European integration history; and the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin, which aims to provide a pluralistic and dialogical perspective on European integration history.


Crossing Europe: Migration and Mobility in Museal Spaces




This chapter explores how museums address the topics of migration and mobility as key aspects of European society and culture. It argues that crossing Europe is a complex and diverse process that involves various forms of movement across borders, such as labor migration, refugee migration, tourism, education, business and leisure. It also argues that crossing Europe is a complex and diverse process that involves various forms of movement within borders, such as urbanization, suburbanization, gentrification, segregation and integration.


The chapter provides an overview of the main ways that museums represent and engage with migration and mobility in Europe, such as documenting and displaying the experiences, identities and contributions of migrants and mobile groups; fostering intercultural dialogue and inclusion in museal spaces; and facilitating participation and empowerment of migrant and mobile communities. It also analyzes how museums face challenges and opportunities in addressing migration and mobility in Europe, such as dealing with stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination; balancing between diversity, cohesion and belonging; and adapting to changing demographics, needs and expectations.


The chapter presents three case studies that illustrate different aspects of crossing Europe through museums: the Migration Museum Project in London, which aims to create a national museum of migration in Britain; the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, which aims to tell the story of transatlantic migration from Europe; and the Mucem (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) in Marseille, which aims to explore the cultural exchanges between Europe and the Mediterranean.


Conclusion




This chapter summarizes the main findings and implications of the book for museum studies, European studies and cultural studies. It argues that exhibiting Europe in museums is a multifaceted phenomenon that reveals much about the past, present and future of Europe as a cultural, political and social entity. It also argues that exhibiting Europe in museums is a contested phenomenon that involves various actors, institutions, initiatives and networks that shape and are shaped by the processes of Europeanization and globalization.


The chapter also discusses the limitations and gaps in the book's analysis and approach, such as the focus on history and contemporary culture museums, the selection of case studies, the lack of empirical data and the absence of visitors' perspectives. It also suggests some future prospects and challenges for exhibiting Europe in museums, such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences of Brexit, the rise of populism and nationalism, the emergence of new technologies and media, and the development of new paradigms and practices.


FAQs





  • What is the main aim of the book?



The main aim of the book is to provide a comprehensive and critical overview of exhibiting Europe in museums, examining how museums have become arenas for shaping and displaying Europe as a cultural, political and social entity.


  • Who are the authors of the book?



The authors are Wolfram Kaiser, a professor of European studies at Portsmouth University; Stefan Krankenhagen, a professor of cultural studies at Hildesheim University; and Kerstin Poehls, a lecturer in museum studies at Hamburg University.


  • How is the book structured?



The book is structured into six chapters, each focusing on a key aspect of exhibiting Europe in museums: musealising, governing, networking, collecting, narrating and crossing Europe. Each chapter presents a theoretical framework, a historical overview and a number of case studies from different European countries and regions.


  • What are the main sources and methods used in the book?



The main sources used in the book are secondary literature, primary documents, museum websites and publications, and interviews with museum professionals. The main methods used in the book are historical, sociological and museological analysis.


  • What are the main contributions and limitations of the book?



The main contributions of the book are to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on exhibiting Europe in museums, to explore the interactions and influences among various actors, institutions, initiatives and networks in the museum field, and to highlight the challenges and opportunities for museums in a changing and diverse Europe. The main limitations of the book are to focus on history and contemporary culture museums, to select a limited number of case studies, to lack empirical data and to omit visitors' perspectives.


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