Because of the terrible terror events and the loss of so many young lives in my little country it has been difficult to focus on my fellowship project this last week. Trying to look forward, even though it is early for that, I’ve been asking myself what the roles of museums should be in such processes of national healing.
Like many my instant reaction was to check via social fora that my friends were ok and to let out some of the feelings one wanted to scream out on the bus or whereever one happened to be in that moment (not a very Norwegian thing to do normally). Then hours of consuming news and searching the net for meaning. Being too far away to join the masses in Oslo with flowers and candles my little family light candles in our DC home, on different web sites and participated in events on Facebook. Even though some part of me dislikes FB it turned out to be my first source of comfort, as it is where most of my friends are. People have changed their profile images to IloveOslo, flags or candles, share links to anything they find meaningful and create events and groups relating to different aspects of the tragedy. There’s a group for the different victims, like for the 10 year old who confronted the terrorist after he had shot his dad, for the 13 year old girl who thought she’d better leave Norway to save Norwegian children for similar anti-Muslim terror…even one supporting the heartbroken mother of the terrorist.
Official media are already discussing and asking the people what to do with all the flowers, candles and memoralia covering offical plazas and streets, and Norwegian museums are probably asking themselves what their role should be in the healing of the nation in the years to come.
Personally I like the plans for the soon to open National 911 memorial and museum in New York and how people can contribute to it. And I found this post from the Museum of American History to be thought provoking.
But most of all I like the idea that the people should make the memorial and that the museums “only” provide tools and advice we might need.