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Post-apartheid reconciliation through buildings: A comparison between two South African museums
2017 (English)In: Tidskrift för ABM, ISSN 2002-4614, Vol. 2, no 2, p. 36-60Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article aims to illustrate the relationship between museum success and community engagement within the broader field of the intersection of memory-space-healing and national traumas all over the world. Museum success is in this case defined as a functioning museum which engages with content and receives a large number of visitors, and is accepted by and engages with its community. We have included an analysis of two South African museums that focus on elements of the apartheid past, in order to explore the architectural, institutional and social dynamics that are at play when a museum has to deal with difficult subject matter in a complex physical context. We look at relevant literature from South African architectural and museum publications, as well as work by international cultural heritage authors. We also include visual and descriptive analysis of two case studies. The focus is on the District Six Museum in Cape Town and the Red Location Museum in Port Elizabeth and their roles, as institutions and buildings, in post-conflict recon- ciliation. Additional examples are investigated in terms of archi- tectural design, display design, and institutional culture. We draw conclusions based on the complex post-apartheid context wherein these museums function. The main conclusions are first linked to how a museum is introduced into a community and second, how the engagement with the community is managed. We argue that these two factors may impact directly on the survival of the museum. The Red Location Museum serves as an example of a breakdown of these relationships. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 2, no 2, p. 36-60
Keyword [en]
South Africa, Cultural heritage, Museums, Reconciliation, Commemoration, Post-apartheid, Red Location, District Six, Architecture
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336193OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-336193DiVA, id: diva2:1165218
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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