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War and remembering war in the museum. The Second World War in Polish exhibitions since the 1980s

The project is concerned with the question how the presentations and interpretations of the Second World War as the essential point of focus of the national historical memory has developed in historical museums in the Republic of Poland since the political changes of 1989. Regional and municipal history museums as well as facilities that claim a national relevance will be the objects of examination. The concepts and contents of permanent exhibitions will be analyzed as well as the presentation techniques used in these exhibitions. A special focus will be placed on the diachronic examination of developments and changes in the presentation of individual topics and the usage of national, religious and political symbols in museum displays. Furthermore, the institutional and judicial framework of the organization of the national museum scene will be considered.

The central questions of this research project are: In how far can a development of a unified narrative within the history museums of various geographic ranges/orientations be observed; are there divergent regional or local patterns of interpretation? Which groups are included or excluded in the particular narratives? Which events are emphasized in the exhibitions, which are not mentioned at all? Can the development of a hierarchy within the museum scene with respect to interpretations be observed; what is the role of newly founded museums in this context? How do new scientific findings, debates in society and politics influence protagonists as well as contents and concepts of exhibitions?

Monika Heinemann

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