The following pages will present soon 33 exemplary units for the practical implementation of the basic ideas of the interdisciplinary EMEE-project ‘EuroVision – Museums exhibiting Europe’.
The goal of the EMEE project is to uncover the implicit and often hidden European dimension of local museum objects and to visualize the intertwined character of local, regional, national, European, and trans-European layers of historical meanings of museum objects. This approach requires the practice of the Change of Perspective in all areas covered by the five EMEE Toolkits. Furthermore, it demands the combination and linking of these five facets. As an illustration of the practical implementation of the work with the Toolkits the EMEE partners developed so called ‘Exemplary Units’ to test the concept of Change of Perspective on single museum objects (or object groups).
After the selection of appropriate objects they started with detailed research on the (trans-)European dimension of the chosen example of the local cultural heritage in order ‘to make Europe’ visible in the object (EMEE TOOLKIT 1). Doing this they followed a scheme developed by EMEE and asked the following questions:
1. The object as ‘migrant’: What about European, or transregional, or cross-cultural dimensions in the story of ‘migration’ of the object itself from the place of origin to its current place in the museum?
2. The background of the making of the object: What about European, or transregional, or cross-cultural dimensions in the history of the creation of the object?
3. Cultural transfer by means of trans-regional networks: What about European, or trans-regional, or cross-cultural networks of cultural transfer and exchange related to the origin and distribution of the object?
4. Culture-spanning contexts: What about the relation of the object to culture-spanning contexts with European, or trans-regional, or cross-cultural ranges?
5. Cultural encounters as theme of the object: What about cultural encounters within Europe or between Europe and the world being represented by the topic of the object?
6. Aspects of the perception of the self and the other: What about images of the self and the other being represented by the object?
7. The object as (cultural) icon: Can the object be regarded as a representation of a very typical or even idolized idea of European self-perception?
8. ‘Object-narration’: Is there a story (‘a narration’) related to the object that has an implicit or explicit European, or transregional, or cross-cultural dimension?
In a second step the partners enriched the re-interpretation of the object by relating it to ideas of integrating a multicultural audience and of developing the museum as a social arena (EMEE TOOLKIT 2) as well as by appropriate concepts for the activation and participation of the visitors (EMEE TOOLKIT 3). These concepts were combined with ideas of synaesthetic translations and scenographic staging in order to underline the Change of Perspective (EMEE TOOLKIT 4). Finally, content-related proposals on the development of concepts of social web and media-supported interaction were added (EMEE TOOLKIT 5).
Of course it is impossible to apply all aspects of EMEE-Change of Perspective to a single museum object. But this ‘Exemplary Unit’ shows that there are more options than meet the eye at first glance. To demonstrate this experience is the main purpose of this ‘Exemplary Unit’.