To Survive Ravensbrück: Considerations on Museum Pedagogy and the Passing on of Holocaust Remembrance

Katrine Tinning


How can museums pass on the remembrances of the survivors of Holocaust in ways that engage visitors? This article looks at the ways museums remember the Holocaust by focusing on an exhibition entitled To Survive - Voices from Ravensbrück at the museum of cultural history, Kulturen, in Lund, Sweden. The exhibition centres on a unique collection of small objects secretly and illegally created by women in the Ravensbrück concentration camp as acts of resistance against the inhuman conditions in the camp. Exhibits on the Holocaust represent a particular tradition of museum pedagogy, associated with the imperative of ‘never again’, often read as an attempt to evoke empathy and responsibility for other human beings. In line with this tradition, the educational aim of To Survive is to encourage the viewers, to be moved to a greater sense of responsibility. The article provides a detailed description of the exhibit, discusses the choice of the museum to tone down the dark aspects of the story, and looks into how the exhibition realizes various appeals to the visitor, but also how it makes some voices mute. As such this article contributes to the ongoing museological discussions of the complexities of putting so-called difficult knowledge on display.

Key Words: Museum Pedagogy, Visual Pedagogy, Memory Studies, Holocaust Studies, Difficult Knowledge, Ethical responsibility, Visitor involvement.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Katrine Tinning

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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