Inventing Europe was one of the most interesting projects I have seen at this conference so far. Not because it was completely finished, but exactly because it wasn’t. Inventing Europe is an online digital museum for science and technology. During the session, presenter and project manager Suzanne Lommers argued that their main goal is to see how this digital museum could be employed to stimulate debate on Europe. What is especially interesting about the project is that it envisions a new European historical narrative: one of cross-border transnationality.
The last thirty minutes of the session the audience was given time to browse the website by itself and discuss its pros and cons. With a group of MA Public History students, we got in a debate about why we would want a European museum. Why is this necessary? Why impose this feeling of ‘Europeness’ upon people? Of course we should have asked this question during the session, but as students we might still be a bit shy about speaking up, and also it was almost 5.30 pm, and thus borrel time… The presentation did touch upon some great points though.
First of all, I thought that the MyEurope tool was a great idea. It is a tool for making your own tours, especially useful as a teaching exercise for university or last year of high school. Users can choose 6 objects for their tour, picking these from the website’s collection, museum collections or their own collection. Inventing Europe envisions to use it a as a cross-border teaching tool, matching students from different countries together to work on specific themes.
What I also really liked is that the presenters asked the audience for input. Of course, this might be expected from a workshop, but it is the first time that I felt personally addressed by one of the speakers. I’m not sure if this conference is meant for such a thing, but asking colleagues or public history students for collaboration, comments or feedback I think projects could really be enhanced and/or improved.
- Written by Ellen Schuurman