Posts tagged agency

“The exhibition at Auschwitz no longer fulfills its role, as it used to. More or less eight to 10 million people go to such exhibitions around the world today, they cry, they ask why people didn’t react more at the time, why there were so few righteous, then they go home, see genocide on television and don’t move a finger. They don’t ask why they are not righteous themselves.

To me the whole educational system regarding the Holocaust, which really got under way during the 1990s, served its purpose in terms of supplying facts and information. But there is another level of education, a level of awareness about the meaning of those facts. It’s not enough to cry. Empathy is noble, but it’s not enough.”

—  PIOTR CYWINSKI, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland, where officials are revising exhibitions to better educate visitors, numbers of which reached 1.3 million last year.  “If we succeed we will show for the first time the whole array of human choices that people faced at Auschwitz.”

Quoted in “Auschwitz Shifts from Memorializing to Teaching,” by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times (via tartantambourine)

Campaign Zone opens at the International Slavery Museum

As you will no doubt be aware the International Slavery Museum has never been content just to reflect on the history of the transatlantic slave trade, its abolition and legacies. Anyone who has read the excellent blog posts by the head of the museum Richard Benjamin will know that it is an active campaigning museum which works to raise awareness of modern forms of slavery and how people can help in the fight against them.

This has led the museum to hold the Trafficked exhibition and acquire and exhibit thought provoking items such as the ankle bracelets worn by modern day slaves and the artwork 'Missing' (2007) by Rachel Wilberforce, all of which are currently on display.

An exciting new initiative at the museum is the creation of a dedicated Campaign Zone, which will focus on these the contemporary issues. The Campaign Zone includes a resource area and an exhibition space, with its first exhibition Home Alone: end domestic slavery opening today.

I caught up with collections development officer Stephen Carl-Lokko for a quick preview of the Campaign Zone yesterday and photographed him by his favourite quote in the entrance, which is an important and very fitting message:
 ”When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” Desmond Tutu

This marks the start of a busy couple of months for the museum, which is hosting the inaugural conference of the Federation of International Human Rights Museums next week. Once that has finished staff will just have time to prepare for the special events planned for Black History Month in October.

Update on empowering new immigrants through art

Guest post is by Patricia Lannes, Director of Education at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, New York. Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums briefly profiles NCMA’s work with new immigrants. Patricia provides an update on NCMA’s recent CALTA pilot institute.