Thinking through the Museum

CRC in Culture and Public Memory

Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public brings together researchers, curators, artists, and community members seeking new terms of engagement for learning from histories of violence and conflict.

While the advent of “new museology” has seen a shift from imagining museum visitors as uninformed, passive consumers of didactic exhibits to agents involved in content and meaning making, a gap remains between participatory ideals and their practice in contemporary museums — especially when it comes to difficult knowledge. The overall goal of our project is to position ourselves within this gap, creating concrete networks and resources to collectively respond to the challenges inherent in confronting traumatic histories and legacies of violence.

The project addresses the following key questions:

How can museums deepen public debate on difficult historical and cultural issues?
How can museums increase public access to knowledge?
How can museums help democratize society?
How can museums contribute to positive social change?

Dr. Angela Failler acted as project director for the partnership development stage of this project. The next stage, funded through a 7-year Partnership Grant, is led Dr. Erica Lehrer (Concordia University). For more information on this project, please see: