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KULVER-Kulturell verdsetting

Exhibiting Europe. The development of a European narrative in museums, collections and exhibitions.

Awarded: NOK 7.9 mill.

Today we observe a process that has structural similarities with nation-building in the nineteenth century, but with different objectives: the integration of Europe within the economic, political and cultural framework of the European Union (EU). If we lo ok at the field of museums, we realise that any museum representing this history of integration can be an important forum for defining a common European heritage and Europeaness not as a national, but as a trans- and supranational culture and identity - s omething that is almost desperately requested by the EU elites since the Maastricht Treaty. Taking this into consideration, the research project Exhibiting Europe looks closer at the conditions to represent the integration process within the museum, which today appears as follows: * The integration of Europe within the economic, political and cultural framework of the EU influences the museal field on a large scale - but can barely be found in the actual museal content until this day. We observe the emer gence of European networks within the museal field (The Museums of Europe network founded in 2000 or NEMO, the Network of European Museum Organisations); we experience various re-definitions from 'national' to 'European' museums (for example, Museum für E uropäische Kulturen Berlin, former Museum für Volkskunde) as well as a growing cultural self-representation of EU institutions (as in the new EP Visitors' Centre, and the projected House of European History). * Reaching out for Europe within the museal field is still a central European process, limited to a small number of nations. It is by no means arbitrary that two core countries behind the economic and political integration process, France and Germany, are striving hard to overcome national fragment ation by cultural Europeanisation. Together with the Benelux countries and Italy, they appear to form the nucleus of a forthcoming European narrative within museums, collections and exhibitions while for Eastern Europe or Scandinavia, for example, a Europ eanisation of museal narratives appears very remote. * As if the vanishing nation state wanted to claim for itself a last memorial, we observe the emergence of national history museums in recent times. Poland, the Netherlands and just recently France, h ave all revealed their plans for all-encompassing history museums that should reinforce their respective national identities. Europe wants to be collected, but it has no collection. This tension serves as a starting point for the research project Exhibit ing Europe. Taking into account the gap between ambition and the reality of a specific European narrative in museums, collections and exhibitions, our research addresses the following topics: * The correlation between collecting policies and the museali sation of Europe. (Stefan Krankenhagen, NTNU) * The development of cohesive master narratives of European Union history in museums and exhibitions. (Wolfram Kaiser, University of Portsmouth) * The museal display of migration as a negotiation of the bo rders of Europe. (Leonore Scholze-Irrlitz and Kerstin Poehls, Humboldt University Berlin)

Funding scheme:

KULVER-Kulturell verdsetting