ICOM International Committee for Historic House Museums

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February 10, 2019

DEMHIST and ICOM Portugal joint seminar: Memorial Spaces in Museological Contexts Workshop

On May 2-4 Guimaraes will host a joint seminar of DEMHIST, ICOM Portugal and ICOM Europe titled: MEMORIAL SPACES in Museological Contexts

Museums as Cultural Hubs: the Future of Tradition

Just as Humanity is ever evolving, facing new limits, challenging present options and making up new inventive answers, so does the relationship with Memory and Tradition. The ability to build up and learn from all the generations that are our predecessors is the distinctive trace of humankind, this characteristic depends on memory to subsist, while tradition helps to shape and frame human options and actions. Museums thus face a permanent challenge to safeguard the past, whereas promoting the understanding of present meanings and relations, that help to build a better, more inclusive future. Present day societies are global, challenging institutions of memory to open up to new and different situations, while insuring a difficult balance between their inheritance and new ways of experiencing it. Man is the measure of all human things, His residence (under no matter what shape or size) is therefore a privileged approach to all dimensions of Human activity.

Interpreting Memorial Spaces in Museological Contexts

People value what they know and have learned to understand and appreciate. Memorial spaces embody traditions, talk about significant events or people. The residential space is instinctively apprehended by those who visit, they identify human universal needs and though through different perspectives, feel in a familiar ground. Nevertheless, museum professionals know that the untouched ground does not exist, what really ‘talks’ to visitors is the interpretation presented by museological options, regardless of all the difficulties posed by conservation and security constraints. What should be the boundaries, how far can we go? What are museum professionals responsibilities and how can we face up these challenges?

Programming Memorial Spaces in Museological Contexts

Museums are no longer sleeping beauties, untouched by the passage of time, offering the visitor their enigmatic stillness. Museum professionals have to program activities, propose alternative approaches, and promote curiosity and discussion. The role of museums in present day societies is evaluated by their ability to make memory and tradition tools to reinforce social cohesion, promote learning and knowledge, provide keys to unlock the planet diversity and increasing complexity.

Innovating in Memorial Spaces in Museological Contexts

Museums that deal with memory and tradition through the means of residences are often considered to be static, by vocation and respect by the frame provided by the container/house, contents/collection and personality/personalities they evoke. How can we innovate without betraying tradition? How can we bring memory alive introducing different approaches?

Download the full program here