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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Representing the Past, Reflecting the Present: British Jewish Museology since 1887 Seminar

21 October 2014
Lecture Theatre C Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of the Parkes Institute Seminar series

Public museums are a powerful means of representing collectivities thereby shaping identities of nations, localities and cultural or special interest groups. Jewish communities all over Europe were among the first and most active minorities to create museums to save heritage from neglect and destruction, reduce stereotypes in the non-Jewish population, and promote Jewish education.

Since the pioneering Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in 1887 the landscape of Jewish museums and exhibitions in Britain has expanded and fundamentally changed. While the museums of the past featured icons, today they centre around narratives; if past displays focused on British roots, the different routes to Britain are highlighted in those of today; and if religion was sometimes presented as the unifying aspect of (British) Jewish history then, now it is one among others, and not even the most important one.

Yet what does this mean for British Jewish history and for the role of museums today? The speaker will provide an overview of how the Jewish museums in Britain have told British Jewish history over the last 120 years and reflect on how social change, museological trends and shifts in historical thinking have transformed the Jewish museums and their representations of the past.

Speaker’s biography

Kathrin Pieren read Italian language and literature; sociology; and politics at the University of Bern (Switzerland) and the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples (Italy). She completed an MA degree in Museum Studies at Newcastle University, and acquired a PhD in Modern History from the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, with a thesis on the early history of Jewish exhibitions and museums in Britain. She has worked in research management in Switzerland and in several museums in Britain and is currently part-time Curator and Manager of a local history museum in Petersfield, East Hampshire. Alongside this post, she researches the recent history of Britain’s Jewish museums as a part-time Post-doctoral Research Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.

The chair for this seminar will be Professor Joachim Schlör .

Dr Kathrin Pieren

Speaker information

Dr Kathrin Pieren ,Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in History

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