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Between Authority and Dialogue: Challenges for the House of European History

Christine Dupont
21 Sep 2020
14 pages

On 4 May 2017, the House of European History (HEH) opened its doors to the public in the heart of the European quarter in Brussels. A great deal has already been written to describe this museum dedicated to the history of Europe and about the multiple challenges it faced and faces. However, nothing has yet been published about the way the museum is perceived by the 493722 visitors who have come through its doors since its opening.

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This chapter is based on a small but significant set of comments the museum has received since opening. These include academic and media responses and some feedback directly received from visitors during guided tours through the galleries. The article will reflect on the museum’s global approach and the challenges it faces as a public history institution. Special attention will be given to the museum as a singular medium, with its own means of expression and communication. The narrative line, the design of the galleries, the collection and the interaction with the visitors will all serve as lenses through which to consider some of the main issues confronting this fascinating but complex House.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/BostonImage Credit: Paul Ashton