Cold War Museology: How museums shape our understanding of the Cold War

National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh

We invite interested participants from across disciplines to join us for a conference on Cold War museology, 12-14 June 2023.

Speakers from historical, museological, heritage and memory studies backgrounds will explore the challenges of conceptualising the Cold War in a museological context. Papers will address several interconnected themes on: material collected in Cold War museums, temporality and periodisation, challenges and contentions and the ephemerality and intangibility associated with Cold War history.

Without a more precise and concentrated discussion of the issues and questions raised by collecting and exhibiting Cold War material globally museums cannot produce accessible, meaningful, and authentic public displays.

We look forward to encouraging a lively inter-disciplinary discussion and beginning a conversation with long-term museological impact.

Keynote speakers: Professor Rhiannon Mason, Newcastle University: Professor Odd Arne Westad, Yale University.

List of papers:

  • Adam R. Seipp, Looking Out from Point Alpha: Cold War Memories in the German Borderlands
  • Bernd von Kostka, 100 Objects. Berlin during the Cold War
  • Bodo Mrozek, Beyond Materiality? Smelling the Cold War in the Museum: Trends and Problems
  • Cecilia Åse, Mattias Frihammar, Fredrik Krohn Andersson and Maria Wendt, The Politics of Cold War Temporality: The Case of Contemporary Military Heritagization in Sweden
  • Charlotte Yelamos, The Material Culture of Cold War Intelligence: presenting the archaeology of BRIXMIS
  • Grace Huxford, ‘There can’t be any Wall left’: nostalgia, ‘domestic museums’ and the search for a British Cold War
  • Holger Nehring, Cable, Link Analyser, Synthesiser: Connecting the Cold War in the Museum
  • Jessica Douthwaite, What Colour was the Cold War?
  • Jim Gledhill, Through the Looking Glass War: Museums and exposing Cold War espionage in contemporary Berlin  
  • Johannes-Geert Hagmann, Beyond Janus-faced narratives: object lessons from the travelling-wave maser 
  • Karl Kleve, How the U-2 spy plane shaped North-Norwegian Cold War Identity
  • Kristiane Janeke & Dr Jens Wehner, Presentation of the Cold War in the Bundeswehr Military History Museum
  • Nataša Jagdhuhn, Musealizing Nonalignment: The Gallery of Art of the Non-Aligned Countries (1984-1991)
  • Pete Millwood, Representing the Complexity of China’s Cold War in Museums
  • Peter Johnston, A War That Never Was: Locating, Collecting, and Exhibiting the Experiences of British Forces in Cold War Germany
  • Peter Robinson & Milka Ivanova, Competing for authenticity, nostalgia and visitor revenue: challenges for curatorship in UK Cold War Bunkers
  • Ralf Raths, The Cold War as part of an integrated military museology: Viewing World War III through the lense of World War II 
  • Rosanna Farbøl, Between memory and materiality: Cold War civil defence as cultural heritage
  • Sam Alberti, The Vulcan’s Voice: multiple meanings of a Cold War artefact
  • Sarah Harper, Readiness for Red Alert: Engaging with the Royal Observer Corps Material Culture 
  • Susanne Muhle, From Cold War hotspot to myth: Checkpoint Charlie as Cold War site and place of remembrance
  • Ulla Egeskov & Bodil Frandsen, Considerations on how to make a new Cold War Museum experience

To register for the conference please email Marianne Spence at National Museums Scotland: by 31 March 2023.

Registration and refreshments are provided. There are no additional funds for conference travel and accommodation.

This conference is part of the AHRC-funded Materialising the Cold War project (Project number AH/V001078/1). The project is a collaboration between University of Stirling and National Museums Scotland, led by Principal Investigator Sam Alberti, Co-investigator Holger Nehring and Research Fellows Jim Gledhill and Jessica Douthwaite. We thank the AHRC and National Museums Scotland for their support.

Image courtesy of National Museums Scotland.

Theme by the University of Stirling

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