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GLOBAL VILLAGE Actors of change and promoters of social inclusion – NEMO’s Margherita Sani explains how museums can strengthen social fabric by embracing and uniting diverse audiences


photo: © Milena Schlösser, Staatliche Museen Berlin

useums can change lives. Museums are for and about people. For museums to be truly accountable to past, present and future generations, they must work with and for all sections of the communities they serve. Museums have the potential to strengthen the social fabric of society and act as meeting and dialoguing places for different cultures. NEMO (Network of European Museum Organisations) brings together museum organisations and museums throughout

Europe to strengthen mutual exchange and expertise and address the most crucial issues facing this sector. A current hot topic is how museums can be actors of change and promoters of social inclusion.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS The role of museums in society across the globe has significantly changed in recent decades: from temples of knowledge to fora for debate and discussion, from repositories of objects to people-centred institutions with

Cultural and historical experiences are shared at Museum Island in Berlin


social responsibilities and functions. This shift reflects an ongoing trend to democratise museums and make them more accessible to wider audiences and responsive to the public, in particular to local communities, whose composition has changed to include migrants and people with different ethnic backgrounds. With unprecedented migration flows to Europe and the increasing growth of multiethnic communities, we must ask how cultural institutions can contribute to effective integration and dialogue. Funders and society expect museums to help facilitate the integration and peaceful coexistence of newcomers – and supportive financial resources are being made available, also at EU level. It can be questioned whether it’s right to charge museums with these responsibilities. Does it push the boundaries of their work too far and give the social function a too prominent role, as opposed to fulfilling traditional conservation and educational tasks. Or it this debate already obsolete in the light of the growing body of evidence of good practices available at European level. Museums in Europe are already engaging with migration and cultural diversity with a variety of approaches,

Attractions Handbook 2017-2018  

The global resource for attractions professionals

Attractions Handbook 2017-2018  

The global resource for attractions professionals