Saturday, October 21, 2006

International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience. A Librarian at the Kitchen Table. No. 412.

In an article in In These Times Liz Sevcenko described the purpose of the International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience:
"Our goal is to transform historic site museums from places of passive learning to places of active citizen engagement. We seek to use the history of what happened at our sites—whether it was a genocide, a violation of civil rights, or a triumph of democracy—as the foundation for dialogue about how and where these issues are alive today, and about what can be done to address them.”

Since 1999, member museums have shared resources and strategies on how to promote democracy and human rights through historical analysis. At the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, visitors are presented with street signs and maps from a neighborhood that was gradually demolished after the South African government declared it a whites-only area in 1965...
At the site of Perm-36, a restored Stalinist labor camp in Russia, the Gulag Museum uses structures from the old prison to discuss issues such as totalitarianism, state terror and the role of dissidents in an open political system. The museum asks its visitors, “What institutions or activities are fundamental to a democracy?”
The Tenement Museum recently won first prize from the American Association of Museums’ Brooking Paper on Creativity in Museums for its Shared Journeys Program.

[Thanks LHW].

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