European Commission - 7th Framework Programme European Museums and Libraries in/of the age of migrations last updated: February 2015

European National Museums: Making Communities and Negotiating Conflicts

25 January, 2012

Brussels, Belgium | Royal Museums of Art and History



Culture and its institutions have been casted as key forces for integration and social cohesion in old nation-states as well as in more recent political entities such as the European Union. One of Europe’s most enduring institutions is the museum and today there is an increased interest among social elites as well as citizens to create new museums, especially history museums. At the same time existing museums struggle with how to approach contemporary cultural diversity, claims for restitutions, and economic restraints.
This event brings together researchers, museum professionals and policy makers to discuss findings from two research areas in the project EuNaMusEuropean National Museums: Identity Politics, the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen. The aim is to discuss the challenges and negotiations in terms of collections, communities and citizenship that arise when polities create new museums. All over Europe, the making of new history museums brings to the fore questions as to which stories and which objects should be put on display, for what audiences and with what results and future possibilities.


13.00-13.30: Opening: Professor Michel Draguet, General Director a.i. of the Royal Museums of Art and History

13.30-15.00 Launch of EuNaMus 1st Policy Brief: The museum as a cultural constitution, great narratives and conflicts in museum spaces

Professor Peter Aronsson and Dr. Gabriella Elgenius present key findings: Mapping and framing institutions 1750-2010: national museums interacting with nation-making
Professor Dominique Poulot presents key findings: Uses of the Past: narrating the nation and negotiating conflicts
Launch of EuNaMus’ wiki on heritage wars

Comments from invited stakeholders


15.30-17.30: Panel: Entering the mine-fields – the creation of new history museums in Europe

In recent decades, new museums of national history have been initiated in several European nation-states and even on a European level. Usually these initiatives are surrounded by populist debates of the pros and cons of using public funding for such large scale cultural projects or objections from intellectuals to the ideological nature of the projects. This panel brings together representatives from four initiatives to discuss how they handle the debates in the course of the projects as they develop and how they balance political and intellectual concerns.
Participants: Dr. Taja Vovk-van Gaal, Academic Project Leader, House of European History (European Parliament, Brussels); Professor Dr. Rosmarie Beier-de Haan, Head of Collection and Curator, Deutsches Historisches Museum (Berlin); Dr. Robert Kostro, Director of the National Museum for Polish History (Warsaw); Dr. Charles Personnaz, Director of the Maison de l'Histoire de France (Paris).
Moderator: Dr. Chantal Kesteloot, Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (Brussels)

17.30-18.00: Summary discussion: the integrative forces of conflicts and sharing



Please announce your attendance to no later than 15 January 2012. There are limited places so we recommend that you sign up early.

The event is organised by EuNaMus and the House of European History.



» link to the Conference