Museums strengthen links between Europe and the Americas
An EU-funded project is exploring the cultural, scientific and social dimensions of Europe4s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) through the study of museums. This should preserve community heritage and support EU-LAC cooperation.
© W.Scott McGill #60920297, 2018. Source: fotolia.com
Museums have a unique responsibility for communicating the shared history between Europe and the LAC region. They are also well-placed to reach all kinds of communities, from cities to remote villages, and provide a space for building social cohesion.
A large amount of research has been carried out into relationships between small to medium-sized rural museums and their communities in both the EU and the LAC region, but comparative bi-regional analysis is lacking. To bridge this gap and develop a related historical and theoretical framework, the EU-LAC-Museums project is fostering dialogue and cooperation between academia, museums, policy makers and communities in the two regions.
EU-LAC-Museums is based on an awareness that many rural museums in LAC countries empower under-represented communities by enabling them to highlight their history. Moreover, by focusing on the natural landscape and traditional structures, they contribute to environmental sustainability.
Project researchers are investigating how these institutions can inform museum practice, particularly in remote and island locations, with a view to enhancing social inclusiveness in the museum sector in such areas. They are also researching how museums and communities in the two regions address the issue of sustainability, as well as exploring the subject of migration history in order to broaden knowledge of EU-LAC relations in the museum field.
Information gathered by the project is made available to potential users through a bespoke website. Allied to the use of heritage technologies, the website helps museum communities preserve their cultural and religious objects, indigenous knowledge and traditional skills, along with the environments in which these elements developed. It is backed by a dissemination programme, which includes bi-regional workshops and youth exchanges.
The work should lead to the formulation of a common vision for small to medium-sized museums and their communities, based on existing EU-LAC cooperation principles and to be ratified by the International Council of Museums.