Conference Alert: Museums and Universal Heritage

From H-Museum:

Fairly timely, this conference alert, given recent discussions about the Burrup.


ICOM / ICMAH Vienna 2007

Museums and Universal Heritage.
History in the area of conflict between interpretation and manipulation
Vienna, Austria, 20 - 22 August 2007

"ICOM / ICMAH Vienna 2007" is the independent three-day conference of ICMAH, ICOM's International Committee for Museums and Collections of Archaeology and History. It will take place in the context of the ICOM General Conference Vienna 2007. As one of ICOM's oldest and largest committees, ICMAH in recent years has taken on the particular mission of examining the public and political status of museums in present times ( ). ICMAH is delighted to be organising the 2007 Vienna Conference in cooperation with the Wien Museum ( ). This metropolitan museum, with its extensive historical collections, always strives to incorporate topical issues into its sophisticated exhibition programmes.

ICMAH Vienna 2007 will be dedicated to the issues involved in working in historical and archaeological museums today, under presentation of the theme "History in the area of conflict between interpretation and manipulation" - with a programme that addresses the current issues and awareness of the international ICOM audience.

Where, in the conception of permanent exhibitions or special projects, does the power of interpretation in historical representation lie? What role can museums play as active participants or initiators of social and cultural processes? Which areas of conflict can arise between the guidelines of political backers and the autonomy of museums in terms of content?

To what extent do museum professionals react to volatile issues and conflicts, to what extent do they evade them? Do they also give in to majority opinion from time to time? Where do they stand in the area of conflict between homogenisation of memory and its many voices? In what form can and should they collaborate in the revision of established historical interpretations?

What part can museums and exhibitions actually play in current fields of discussion and conflict? How far do the responsibilities of museums extend and where do they end? Does society possibly shift the responsibility for the solution of problems on to museums? Is it possible for a museum to be not only a mirror of society but also a "diagnostic" site, where reflections are made about future developments in society?

Against the backdrop of current political conflicts and the social, cultural and religious differences in society, the ICOM / ICMAH Vienna 2007 Conference aims to discuss these challenging and at times volatile issues with openness and sensitivity.

We invite you to support our ICOM / ICMAH Vienna 2007 Conference with suggestions of how we, as museum professionals, do and should carry out the professional responsibilities placed upon us.

The challenges and problems outlined above will be studied by means of keynotes, panel contributions and case studies from actual museum and exhibition work of recent years.

Marie-Paule Jungblut, President of ICMAH, Rosmarie Beier-de Haan, Secretary General of ICMAH, and ICOM / ICMAH Vienna 2007, Project Coordinator Dr Monika Sommer (Wien Museum) invite all ICOM members to attend and actively participate in three days of professional exchange and discussion.

Please submit any suggestions for talks and presentations of case studies by 31 March 2007 to: and

The length of abstracts should not exceed 250 words.

Please also ensure that you indicate your role in the submitted project and include your contact address and all professional details (name, position, address, telephone and fax numbers, email).

Rosmarie Beier-de Haan
ICMAH Secretary General
c/o Deutsches Historisches Museum
Unter den Linden 2
D - 10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 30 20304270
Fax: +49 30 20304543

Monika Sommer
Wien Museum
A - 1040 Wien
Tel: +43 1 5058747 84017
Mobile: +43 664 8526977


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