23 January 2017

Permanent exhibition presented at Museum of Second World War in Gdańsk

Category: Conferences, XXw, Polish historiography, Holocaust, News, Political history, Social history, Memory studies

On Monday, 23 January, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk hosts a presentation of the permanent exhibition and two panel discussions with historians including members of the museum’s international advisory board, in anticipation of the new institution’s much anticipated opening later in 2017.


The first panel comprises Sara J. Bloomfield of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Stephane Grimaldi of Le Memorial de Caen, and Professors Yulia Kantor of the State Hermitage Museum and Paweł Machcewicz, founding director of the Gdańsk museum. The moderator is Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.


The second panel is moderated by Prof. Wołdzimierz Borodziej of the University of Warsaw. Its participants are Dr. Andriy Portnov of the Humboldt Univeristy of Berlin, Professors Timothy Snyder of Yale University, Elie Barnavi of Tel Aviv University, and Ulrich Herbert of the University of Freiburg.


The presentation of the exhibition is the latest stage in unveiling the museum’s impressive collections and the narrative approach taken by the team of historians and experts, since a preliminary showing in September 2016. At that time, completed galleries included the area dedicated to children, which revealed a remarkable approach to engaging young visitors whose families have decided not to show the more unsettling aspects of the main exhibition.


Three versions of a fictitious Warsaw apartment have been based on varied historical sources and show prewar, occupation era and postwar conditions for a Polish family, using recreations of furniture, heirlooms and periodicals, with the parlor window filled with animated streets scenes from the respective periods. The innovative approach to child care indicates the concerns and thoroughness that has motivated the new museum in its development, and was an early indication of complex arrangements of development and production of the permanent exhibition that are now nearing completion.

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