The Role of National Museums in the European Integration

Chrysoula Paliadeli
Professor of Classical Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Member of European Parliament

Marianthi Kopellou
Archaeologist, M.A Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Aaccredited assistant by Member of European Parliament Prof. Dr. Chrysoula Paliadeli

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Ingår i: Entering the Minefields: The Creation of New History Museums in Europe: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past; and the European Citizen; Brussels 25 January 2012

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 83:6, s. 33-36

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Publicerad: 2013-02-11


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


National museums are institutionalized spaces where the past is being used through collections and objects in order to display; narrate; and negotiate ideas of values; of belonging; and most of all of identity. Today a big discussion is being held about their capacity to create and reinforce concepts such as social cohesion; unity; mutual understanding and tolerance among the nations and cultures of Europe. Reformulating in a sense this scholarly question; this paper focus on the crucial role that European National Museums may play in the struggle for European integration; in European completion.

How difficult that it could be; testifies an increasing tendency for creating new national museums in the beginning of the 21th century. It is true that anyone hardly could doubt the demand of the European nations to represent their past; especially when this is done as an inlook process that leads to self-consciousness. However; it is equal important to consider that this kind of tendencies can easily be used as a perfect excuse for the rising of an already existing eurosceptism; especially in the turmoil of the economic crisis; but also for the strengthening of neonationalistic movements; as a result of poverty and unemployment.

In these difficult times for the people of Europe; when the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity can rekindle well-hidden extreme nationalistic feelings; it is crucial that the sense of national identity is represented through a critical historical perspective rather as an essential value that could be used as a vehicle of separatism. Perhaps now; more than ever national histories; national memories and national idiosyncrasies are conceived as small but significant parts of a common European multifaceted tradition; and be accordingly cherished as vital features of a common European future.


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