The House of European History celebrates International Museum Day
The House of European History is proud of having recently joined the worldwide community of museums represented by the international council of museums (ICOM) which today celebrates International Museum Day. The theme chosen for 2017 is "Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums".
The House of European History offers visitors a depiction of the main processes and phenomena that have united and divided Europeans through time. A number of recurring questions underpinning the displays highlight how perspectives on specific historic events can be different and sometimes diverging. How does memory shape different visions of the past? Can we say that we have a shared European past when history has affected people differently? Can we find any commonality – a reservoir of European memory? The permanent exhibition contains several moments where the issue of contested histories is particularly tackled.
An introductory section on memory and European heritage proposes a selection of basic elements that are originally European and have spread all over the continent, and asks: can these be considered distinct hallmarks of European culture? If so, which parts of this European heritage should we preserve; what do we want to change; what should we contest? The section of the exhibition on Europe in the 1990s gives room to a reflection on the shared and divided memory of Europeans after 1989. It shows how public monuments, memorials, street names, museums, even school books, have been and continue to be contested sites in the process of remembering and forgetting, and how the question of 'What is European memory?' takes on a new relevance.
The exhibitions at the House of European History do not provide ready-made answers. Instead, they invite to keep a critical eye, and to engage in the public conversation about Europe's past and its implications for the present and the future.