Museum Citizens and Representing our National and European selves in Museums and Online

Alexandra Bounia, University of the Aegean , is the main organiser of the twin workshops taking place in Athens 23-27 April. Programme

Eunamus will here discuss research performed by partners and associates in two of the project’s research strands.

The museology of Europe

Fieldwork in eleven European cityscapes, studies of distributed national museumscapes in Norway, Britain, Sweden and Italy a well as two studies of museum-like representations on the Web are summed up in Eunamus report No 2: Crossing Borders: Connecting European Identities in Museums and Online.

Museum citizens: audience identities and experiences

This research strand takes contextual knowledge from Eunamus other areas of studies and relates it to visitor experiences. The aim is to explore the understanding and use of national museums by the public.It also aims to map public understanding of the nation and Europe in the present and how visitors use the past to construct national and European identities.

Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, data has been collected in nine European museums: the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Ireland, the National Museum of Estonia, the National Historical Museum in Greece, the Open-Air National Museum of Latvia, the Nordiska Museet in Sweden, the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Germany, the Museum of Catalan History in Spain and the Rikjsmuseet in the Netherlands. The workshop in Athens is one of the final steps in finalizing the research. Some of the previous steps have been:

Developing methodology

The last week of February 2011, the research team gathered at the University of Tartu in Estonia for an intensive workshop. The aim was to discuss the findings from the pilot studies that took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens. Furthermore, to exchange ideas and views, to finalise methodology issues and finally to decide on the case studies.

Furthering findings

On November 10th-11th 2011, a second workshop took place in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. The workshop was organized by the Research Centre for Museum and Galleries, which has been working on this research strand. In the intensive but very productive two days, the researchers from three universities – the University of the Aegean, the RCMG of the University of Leicester and the University of Tartu – discussed the qualitative data collected during the previous period in six museums across Europe: the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Ireland, the National Museum of Estonia, the Open-Air Museum of Latvia, the National Historical Museum of Athens and the Deutches Historisches Museum in Berlin.

After a brief presentation of the Museums and the context of the data collection, the workshop was structured around the themes that have been identified as important during the previous stages of the planning of the research, but also during the collection and first analysis of the data: How people use museums for the construction of their identity; How people use museum objects and narratives; What the visitors think is missing from national museums; Ideas of Europe; Minority groups’ views and so on, were among the key questions.

The analysis of the data collected through interviews and focus groups will be completed in 2012, by the RCMG, while the data collected through questionnaires will be analysed by the team of the University of the Aegean.

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