Accepted paper:

Playgrounds of history, shrines of memory: guided tours as performances of citizenship in memorial museums

Authors:

Anja Peleikis (Martin-Luther-University Halle)
Jackie Feldman (Ben Gurion University of the Negev)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Guided tours of national memorial museums are instructions in citizenship. Guides mediate between programmatic aims and curatorial choices of the staff and the perceived expectations of visitors. They not only transmit information, but authorize objects through personalization, academic distance or evocation of emotions. While museums invest in their selection and formation, guides often choose artifacts and employ feeling tones and techniques to engage various audiences. They may also transmit ethnic, religious, class or political subject positions.

We compare performances of the Holocaust/Jewish past in the Jewish Museum Berlin and Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. JMB promotes playful enactments of Jewish religion and history in the service of a multi-cultural vision of a harmonious German society. Yad Vashem asks visitors to commemorate Jewish victimhood and spiritual resistance in the Holocaust, while recognizing Israel as heir to Shoah legacy. Through guiding, we investigate the role of performance in transmitting the national past and present.

panel W071
Experience, witnessing, spectacle: performance and commemoration in the new museum