Sunday, 24 April 2016

Whose heritage and Why? Conflict over a Museum

Jaroslaw Kaczynski
The present Polish government's approach to historiography is very controversial:
Poland’s conservative government is taking steps that threaten an ambitious new World War II museum which international experts have spent eight years creating — the latest ideological battle the nation’s nationalistic authorities are waging against the pro-European rivals they ousted from power last year. The Museum of the Second World War has been under development since 2008 and was due to open next year in Gdansk, where the first shots of the war were fired. [,,,]  The Euro-skeptic Law and Justice party accuses the state-funded museum of not focusing enough on Poland, objecting to an approach that puts Poland’s wartime experience in the broader context of the fate of other nations under the German, Soviet and Japanese occupations. Kaczynski vowed in 2013 that if his party ever took power it would change the museum so it “expresses the Polish point of view.”
Vanessa Gera, 'Polish leaders threaten fate of nearly finished WWII museum' April 24 2016.

Of course Kaczynski himself is the symptom, not the problem. But actually, what are museums for? What does the "British" Museum do, in fact but promote a nationalist message of British superiority?

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