Ethical Challenges for Museum Professionals
Museums all over the world are faced with difficult issues and difficult content. Museum professionals must decide whether to display it and how to display it. Difficult issues raise many ethical questions for the professionals to answer. What stories to tell? How do our difficult issues affect our public, our communities and our supporters? How do the issues affect us?
The session was opened by Katrin Pabst. She stated strongly that difficult issues must be presented by museums despite the fear that the issues raise strong questions or even turn away some of the visitors. Museums have credibility among society and therefore the possibility to affect people and the community. For Pabst it is better to reach for a smaller amount of people with real issues than the masses with less important content.
What museum professionals are lacking is the support when faced with difficult questions. The professionals need guidance when they face ethical questions but in many cases they are left alone. What kind of community can we create among museum professionals to have enough support for raising difficult issues and answering ethical questions about the different subjects we tackle?
Visit Katrin Pabsts thougths in #DIM2017 blog.
We also got to hear about the shocking wax figures in Island as narrators of history and sagas by Gudrun D Whitehead. You can find this thought provoking abstract here.
The session also covered the change of perspective of the German Tank Museum. The ”happy, happy tank museum” in Germany is shifting its target from fancy weapons to the tragedies of their actions. Read more about this important change of narrative by Director of the German Tank Museum Ralf Raths here.