The first comprehensive study of how and why national museums was created 1750-2010 is being completed. New results from many individual countries will add to comparative reflections on the impact national museums have on the making of nations and states from the making of the British Empire to the fall of Communism and the Balkan wars. These will be presented at a conference in Bologna 30 March – 1 April.
From here research on the explicit and implicit national narratives of museums are investigated, with an especial focus on their role in treatment of conflicts. Soon a wiki on heritage war will open to interact with audiences in making an inventory of the most important conflicts reflected – or silenced – in national museums. The hopes of museums and cultural politicians is the coming year being researched and put in relation to the actual experience of audiences.
The first year is now for the first time producing a comprehensive overview of national museums in Europe. The next year will show how the institutions have worked as arenas for dealing with conflicts and producing dialogue and consensus. Communicating with stakeholders is an integrated part of the work but will grow to a dominating feature during the third year, 2012.