Museums of Communism

New Memory Sites in Central and Eastern Europe
Edited by Stephen M. Norris
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/03/2020
Format: Hardback 89 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-05030-4
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How did communities come to terms with the collapse of communism? In order to guide the wider narrative, many former communist countries constructed museums dedicated to chronicling their experiences. Museums of Communism explores the complicated intersection of history, commemoration, and victimization made evident in these museums constructed after 1991. While contributors from a diverse range of fields explore various museums and include nearly 90 photographs, a common denominator emerges: rather than focusing on artifacts and historical documents, these museums often privilege memories and stories. In doing so, the museums shift attention from experiences of guilt or collaboration to narratives of shared victimization under communist rule. As editor Stephen M. Norris demonstrates, these museums are often problematic at best and revisionist at worst. From occupation museums in the Baltic States to memorial museums in Ukraine, former secret police prisons in Romania, and nostalgic museums of everyday life in Russia, the sites considered offer new ways of understanding the challenges of separating memory and myth.

Author Bio

Stephen M. Norris is Walter E. Havighurst Professor of Russian History and Director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University. He is author of Blockbuster History in the New Russia: Movies, Memory, Patriotism and editor of five books on Russian history and culture, including Russia's People of Empire: Life Stories from Eurasia, 1500 to the Present.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: From Communist Museums to Museums of Communism: An Introduction / Stephen M. Norris
Exhibit A: Hall of Genocide, Occupation, and Terror
1. Sovereignty, Terror, and Suffering in the Museum of Genocide Victims in Lithuania / Neringa Klumbytė
2. Visualizing Revisionism: Europeanized Anticommunism at the House of Terror Museum in Budapest / Máté Zombory
3. Inside L'viv's Lonsky Prison: Capturing Ukrainian Memory after Communism / Stephen M. Norris
4. Remembering the Gulag in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan / Steven Barnes
5. Riga's Cheka House: From a Soviet Place of Terror to a Latvian Site of Remembrance? / Katja Wezel
Exhibit B: Hall of National Tragedies
6. Sensing the Uprising: The Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Emotions of the Past / Stephen M. Norris
7. Enforcing National Memory, Remembering Famine's Victims: The National Museum "Holodomor Victims Memorial"/ Daria Mattingly
Exhibit C: Hall of Everyday Life
8. The Czech Museum of Communism: What National Narrative for the Past? / Muriel Blaive
9. Stasiland or Spreewald Pickles? The Battle over the GDR in Berlin's DDR Museum / Stephen M. Norris
Exhibit D: Hall of Russian Memory
10. Commemorating and Forgetting Soviet Repression: Moscow's State Museum of GULAG History / Jeffrey Hardy
11. The Butovskii Shooting Range: History of an Unfinished Museum / Julie Fedor and Tomas Sniegon
12. Museum of Soviet Arcade Games: Nostalgia for a Socialist Childhood / Roman Abramov
Exhibit E: Rotating Exhibits
13. A Museum of a Museum? Fused and Parallel Historical Narratives in the Joseph Stalin State Museum / Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen
14. Between Occupations and Freedoms: Memory, Narrative, and Practice at Vabamu in Tallinn, Estonia / A. Lorraine Kaljund