Europe in the museums? Europeanization of permanent exhibitions at regional museums in various European countries since the 1970s

Keske, Ines

The project examines the level of Europeanisation of the representations of history in museums. Permanent exhibitions of selected municipal and industrial museums from 1970 up to the present day will form the basis of analysis.

Municipal and industrial museums represent two important types of regional history museums. The central question in this dissertation asks how the view of history in these museums is affected by the discourse on Europe, Europeanisation and Transnationalisation in historical culture and education. The hypothesis that will be tested is that the views of history in regional historical museums are europeanised.

The project contains various levels of comparison:

- Firstly, a comparison is drawn between museums in Belgium, Germany, France and Slovenia. Due to the fact that these countries have different historical cultures and backgrounds, an analysis can be carried out as to whether Europeanisation affects the regional history museums in different parts of Europe, and, if so, in what ways. Going beyond Western and Central Europe, this is an attempt at a relatively uncommon comparison in the field of comparative research on historical culture.

- Secondly, a comparison will be drawn between a permanent exhibition from the 1970s/80s and a newly conceived and contemporary permanent exhibition for each type of museum and for each country. By doing so, the development of the process of Europeanisation can be traced.

- Thirdly, if the analysis should reveal strong distinctions between the two types of museum, a comparison can be drawn between municipal and industrial museums. Aside from the exhibitions themselves, the body of analysis contains their respective contexts (influence of politics, sponsorship and audience; financing; scientific monitoring etc.).

On this basis, the complex process of the development of an exhibition can be examined as a whole. Additionally, interviews will be conducted with those responsible for the exhibitions.

The PhD project by Ines Keske is funded by a doctoral sponsorship of the Free State of Saxony/European Social Fund ESF and will continue in 2011. Supervisor is Matthias Middell.