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Museums of Memory by Editor Wendy Pollock, Association of Science-Technology Centers

Journal of Museum Education, Volume 29, Numbers 2 and 3, Spring-Summer/Fall 2004

Keywords: elementary education, middle school, secondary education, social studies, history, cultural heritage, cultural diversity


This journal volume is dedicated to the subject "Museums of Memory."

Museums open doorways into memory, both personal and collective. Paul Klee's blue boats, a Foucault pendulum, the creaky descent into a shadowy coal mine, a certain bench, a marble stair: encounters with spaces and objects in museums may transport us to other times and places, shape identity, inform desire, and remind us of values we hold dear. Memories are not always, however, beautiful or welcome. Injustice, warfare, and traumatic loss are as much a part of our collective past as great works of science, invention, and art. In a time of warfare and trauma on a massive scale, we consider the role of museums that are dedicated to remembering the darker side of the human condition, and those that are struggling with these memories.

Memory researcher Daniel Schacter writes of the deep importance, both personal and social, of passing on stories from one generation to the next: “The need to preserve memories across intergenerational time," he says, "is a fundamental human imperative.” With their storehouses of objects and their places where people can meet and talk, museums and historic sites play a vital role in the process of remembering and making sense of the past, even memories of the darker chapters in human history. Museums can also support personal healing. Old photographs and mementos enhance recall of personal memories, support storytelling, and may aid in psychological healing.

“When Generation Y Asks, Why Vote? Making the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Relevant for Young People”
Lakita Edwards

“Designing Memory, Memorial, and Remembrance Experiences for Museum Web Visitors” Adele Medina O'Dowd

“Memories in Transition: Memory and Museums in the ‘New’ South Africa”
Joseph O'Reilly

“Whom Should We Remember? Japanese Museums of War and Peace”
Takashi Yoshida

“Atomic Museums of (Partial) Memory”
Arthur Molella

“Collective Memories and the Changing Representations of American Slavery”
Julia Rose

“The Evil That Men Do. . .”
Tzvetan Todorov

“Places of History and Remembrance”
International Committee of Memorial Museums for the Remembrance of Victims of Public Crimes

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