Memorial Museums : The Global Rush to Commemorate Atrocities
The past 25 years has seen an extraordinary boom in a new kind of cultural complex: the memorial museum. These seek to research, represent, commemorate and teach on the subject of dreadful, violent histories. With World War and Holocaust memorials as precursors, the kinds of events now recognized include genocide in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda and the Balkans, state repression in Eastern Europe, apartheid in South Africa, terrorism in the United States, political "disappearances" in Chile and Argentina, massacres in China and Taiwan, and more. This book is the first of its kind to "map" these new institutions and cultural spaces, which, although varying widely in size, style and political situation, are nonetheless united in their desire to promote peace, tolerance and the avoidance of future violence. Moving across nations and contexts, Memorial Museums critically analyzes the tactics of these institutions and gauges their wider public significance.
- Paperback | 240 pages
- 172 x 244 x 12mm | 389g
- 19 Feb 2008
- Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Berg Publishers
- London, United Kingdom
- 30 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Table of contents
1. A Very Different Proposition: Introducing the Memorial Museum 2. The Surviving Object: Presence and Absence in Memorial Museums 3. Photographic Memory: Commemorating Calamitous Events through Images 4. Rocks and Hard Places: Location and Spatiality in Memorial Museums 5. A Diplomatic Assignment: The Political Fortunes of Memorial Museums 6. The Memorial Museum Identity Complex: Victimhood, Culpability, and Responsibility 7. Looming Disaster: Memorial Museums and the Shaping of Historic Consciousness 8. Conclusion: Fighting the Forgetful Future
A significant study of contemporary museological practices, offering a wealth of insights into how objects, images and exhibition spaces contribute to the politically charged field of commemoration and remembrance. Andrea Witcomb, Deakin University, Melbourne Williams's book offers a rigorous analysis of the key issues and should be read by anyone involved in a memorial project. Suzanne Bardgett, Oral History This book provides a critical survey of issues on memorial museums: what they contain; why they have proliferated worldwide in this particular sociopolitical epoch; the basis of their appeal for visitors; the effect that their creation might have on other kinds of museums and heritage sites; and if they will become a permanent feature of the urban landscape and of public historical consciousness. cabi.org (July 2008) Williams's work is best suited to for a specialized audience of graduate students, professors, and museum professionals. These readers will find an intellectually stimulating treatise that lays the groundwork for furture research in an area of museum studies that has not yet received much scholarly attention. Highly recommended. S. Ferentinos, CHOICE Magazine Williams should be applauded for his breadth of material ... His argument is an important one that I hope opens up further investigations into the sites he mentions. Museum Anthropology Review
About Paul Williams
Paul Williams is an Assistant Professor in Museum Studies at New York University.