Unheard voices: powerful messages
(Open air museum Old Village Sirogojno)
Paper short abstract:
The paper explores the concepts which (European) open air museums explore in transition from promoters of national idea to promoters of everyday life phenomena in which diverse minority voices demand to be included.
Paper long abstract:
Being specific 4D platforms for experiencing the past, open air museums across the Europe were usually considered as copy-pasted simulacra of idealized and romanticized national rural pasts. Times, societies and values changed during last thirty years challenging the missions and philosophies of open air museums. Focusing on a daily life (instead of houses and objects) and moving towards recent (social) histories and contemporary collecting the interpretative possibilities of endless contemporary issues were opened. Furthermore, the social phenomena rarely or never explored started to be visible like diverse minority topics, immigration, gender issues, poverty, ecology… Following the case studies of Colonial Williamsburg and its "Slave market" living-history concept, Dutch Arnhem and its "Chinese restaurant" or "Moluccan barack", Danish Den Gamle By and its controversial "Homeless" project, Serbian Old Village with "Love affairs" exhibition or Norwegian Maihaugen with "Building of 25-years social change" concepts we can trace the role of those museums in raising of wider social awareness about locally or universally important issues. Additionally, trough shift of focus from great collective narratives to small, human-scale and private stories and memories those numerous "unheard voices" had the opportunity to send "powerful messages". And the question of owning the power(s) or right(s) to tell the stories of `unheard voices` became crucial in many aspects of museology. The aftermaths were museums more opened to influences regarding its contents and messages and institutions more fluid in its operations and researches.
Heritage as a European product