Inspiring Museums

Here are a few examples of museums from around the world which have a focus on past conflict

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story.

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Beit Beirut, Lebanon

This museum is a perfect example of how a traditional structure from a period of conflict can be utilised as a shared learning space. Through renovations, “the yellow house” acts as the focal point of Beit Beirut’s cultural hub. Having a museum situated within the original structure allows visitors to immerse themselves more deeply into the site’s history by being able to physically visualise the past.

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Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin

The outdoor exhibition, found at the historical site, explores the function and purpose of the Berlin Wall while also exploring how the lives of civilians were affected on either side – including those who were displaced due to its construction and those who risked their lives trying to get beyond it. 

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District Six Museum, Cape Town

A large component of the Museum’s work takes place outside of its buildings: on the vacant site of District Six, within the returned community of families who have been successful land claimants, and in the various areas to which the displaced families have been forcibly removed.

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Yad Vashem - Jerusalem

The Yad Vashem is a very fine museum in and of itself that chronologically guides through people big and small of the 1930s and 1940s. It showed how people made life bearable in the darkest of days. An example of this is a Monopoly game with Ghetto related names for places, made to lighten the heart after being grossly discriminated against etc. It does show resilience.

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National Military Museum in Soesterberg

This one fuses traditional military history with more progressive story-telling. It focusses very much on individual stories and then speaks to bigger themes through that. It does so through a room filled with roughly twenty videos with interviews of a Dutch military personnel reminiscing their military/violent past. Also, one stand presents the viewer with wartime dilemma’s faced by Dutch people from early modern times to the present. Recent temporary exhibitions have focussed on children’s life during war time and another on the individual lives of Canadian and German soldier in 1944-1945.

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The Freedom Museum in Groesbeek

Presents visitors with hard choices faced by individual Dutch people in 1940-1945. This part of the exhibition is used as the basis of many school excursions to talk about the experience on the ground. Like the children’s life exhibition in the National Military Museum, it speaks unmilitary, everyday people in times of violence and political upheaval.

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Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Chile

The displays play homage to victims of
political repression in Chile and
demonstrates the systematic human
rights violations committed during 17
years of military rule (1973-90).

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Srebrenica Memorial Exhibition, Sarajevo

An exhibition which aims to preserve
the memory of the Srebrenica tragedy
and the more than 8000 people who perished in the massacres in Bosnia-
Herzegovina in 1995.

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National September 11 Memorial and Museum, New York

The USA’s principal institution concerned
with exploring 9/11, documenting its
impact, and examining its continuing
significance, while also honouring those
who were killed in the attacks.

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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington

A living memorial to the Holocaust which inspires citizens and leaders to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.

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International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

The UK’s International Slavery
Museum increases the understanding
of transatlantic, chattel and other
forms of enslavement. Through its
collections, public engagement and
research, it explores slavery’s impact
and its legacies.

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