Page 11 - EuroVision – Museums Exhibiting Europe (EMEE). The E-book
P. 11

The increasingly fast and at times quite controversial processes of Euro- pean integration as a result of dynamic globalization are drawing more and more attention to the growing complexity of the social, political, and cultural living conditions that the citizens of Europe are facing. The local, regional, national, and European dimensions of social, political, and cultural life are often so closely interconnected and intertwined and thus confusing and challenging for many citizens that it may lead to social dis- orientation and alienation. For example, strong tendencies to separation, marginalization, intolerance, and xenophobia have arisen in many socie- ties across Europe over the last years. While, of course, these alarming developments stem from a variety of reasons, it should not be underes- timated that there seems to exist a certain desire for simpli cation that is mistakenly expected to reconstitute a clear sense of social direction and a strong sense of cultural identity.
In view of the status quo, museums, being the guardians of a nation’s cultural heritage, need to rethink their social role and become institutions that further the question of how the cultural heritage they preserve could function as a socio-cultural resource to facilitate orien- tation in today’s world and contribute to improve social integration in Europe.1 Such a function is possible due to the fact that Europe’s cultural heritage shares this wide-ranging complexity that is characteristic of to- day’s world. This is true even if this complexity is often lost, overlooked, or obscured by the exhibition displays of city, regional or national history
1 As LEM – the Learning Museum Network de nes it the EMEE project understands ‘museums not only as learning places, but learning organisations themselves: learning from the communities, from
the public, from their stakeholders, and also from other agencies, with whom they build alliances to accomplish the ambitious objectives set by policies at national and European level and meet the challenges of the future decades’. network.html, Accessed 11 August 2016.

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