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“ortsgespräche”, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum “local chats”, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum, Berlin, Germany

The Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg Museum documents the history of this borough of Berlin, formed in 2001 by merging the former East Berlin borough of Friedrichshain and the former West Berlin borough of Kreuzberg, two of the most dynamic, culturally lively and multicultural district of the city.

The museum has been created after the merger of the two districts, joining the former museum of Friedrichshain (originated in the late 1980s) with the Kreuzberg Museum, conceived in 1978 as a local museum of urban development and social history, and opened in 1990. The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum is hosted in the original premise of the former Kreuzberg Museum, in a typical factory building in Adalbertstrasse completely restored and complemented by a new stair tower and lift and new facilities. In January 2012 a new permanent exhibition of the district museum of Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg opened: “ortsgespräche. stadt–migration– geschichte. vom halleschen zum frankfurter tor” (local chats. city–migration–history: from hallesches to frankfurter tor). It has been curated by Frauke Miera and Lorraine Bluche, and funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Cultural Fond) within the project “Migration macht Geschichte” (“Migration makes History”). Frauke Miera and Lorraine Bluche, the independent curators who designed the exhibition describe how it has been conceived and realised. ææ city history, people, places, memories

Main objective was to overcome the dualism of “general” history versus the history of the “others” in the exhibition, and to create, instead, a space in which the recollections of migrants, their descendants and locals are interwoven with each other—complementing, contradict-

ing or presented side by side. Migration history was to be told as an integral component of urban history and what was shown to be understood as many-faceted, many-voiced and discursive. In other words, the idea was to tell the history of a city district as the history of all its inhabitants—as a history of migrants, their descendants, locals and the recently immigrated: as an inclusive and multi-perspective city history.

In order to put this idea into practice, we first decided on a topographical approach. We made particular places in the district of Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg into the main hubs or structuring elements of the exhibition. We assumed that the linking of urban development and migrational processes can be especially well shown at specific places in the city. People meet at such places, they imprint and change these places in the course of decades and centuries. Different experiences and perceptions, common characteristics, conflicts and change come together there. The strength of this topographical approach lies in the fact that the various contributors speak on the same subject in each case—namely their recollections, their associations with certain places. The interviewees are not thereby reduced to certain real or ascribed attributes. Migrants and non-migrants alike have the chance to speak on equal terms as agents in city life. Secondly we involved members of the “glocal community”1 in a variety of ways in the exhibition and collection process. During the phase of exhibition preparation we sought and carried on dialogue with a large range of people who are politically, socially and culturally active in 1  With the expression glocal community we mean the people, groups and organisations in the catchment area of a museum of urban history who should, or in the ideal case would be in communication or discourse with the museum: that is, regardless of social categories, education, ethnic or religious attribution, migrational background, gender or sexual orientation, physical or intellectual abilities.


European Museums in the 21st Century: Setting the Framework - Vol. 2  

This book grew out of the earliest work of the MeLa Research Field 6, “Envisioning 21st Century Museums,” aimed at exploring current trends...

European Museums in the 21st Century: Setting the Framework - Vol. 2  

This book grew out of the earliest work of the MeLa Research Field 6, “Envisioning 21st Century Museums,” aimed at exploring current trends...