Museums, Religion, and the Work of Reconciliation and Remembrance

W. M. Blumenthal Academy, Klaus Mangold Auditorium Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
For this closed two-day symposium Prof. Pamela Klassen (Toronto) and Monique Sheer (Tübingen) set up a series of workshop sessions that brought together scholars, heritage professionals and curators “to consider a pair of juxtaposed terms—one, a more conventional curatorial concept, and the other with religious or spiritual inflections”. The terms were “entry points into how language and practices of religion and spirituality shape how museums engage in the work of reconciliation and remembrance”.

CARMAH had a strong presence at the two-day event.
Hosted by the Jewish Museum Berlin, the conference kicked off with two keynote addresses on the evening of the 9th of May. The first, titled, ‘Yahguudangang – To Pay Respect’ was delivered by Nika Collison, executive director of the Haida Gwaii Museum, and the second by Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, director of the Ethnological Museums in Dresden, chaired by Sharon Macdonald. On the panel moderated by Sharon Macdonald, “Conservation and Spiritual Care”, post-doctoral research fellow Duane Jethro presented work on the use of indigenous knowledge systems as a foundation for the design and work of the //hapo museum at Freedom Park in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Researchers Tal Adler and Anna Szöke spoke about their project, Dead Images (developed in the framework of the Horizon 2020 funded TRACES research project), on the panel ‘Acquiring and Relinquishing’. They presented their strategies of creatively engaging the question of how to address collections of human remains held at national museums. Thinking through the relationship between ‘Curation and Stories’, doctoral candidate Christine Gerbich presented a paper that grappled with how one curates relationships in the museum of Islamic art in Berlin.
It was a hugely stimulating two days of workshop sessions that we thoroughly enjoyed contributing towards.

The event is a cooperation with the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen and the University of Toronto, supported by the Humboldt Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

To view the recording of the panel, please click here.