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The Role of Museums in Perilous Times: What’s Happening in Poland?

Date(s) - Wednesday, October 17th
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Stahl Center Distinguished Lecture
Presented by Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

dsc0801-version-2Recent efforts in Poland to dictate how the history of the Holocaust should be told have placed museums in the crosshairs of historical policy and the politics of history. As institutions of public history and sites of informal learning, museums can play a vital role in presenting difficult histories that are authoritative, without being authoritarian. To fulfill that role, they must create a zone of trust, and model civil discourse, open debate, and critical approaches to history. What stories are museums in Poland telling and how free are they to tell them? This talk will focus on how POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is meeting these challenges.

Golda Mier Library
4th floor conference center
Free and open to the public
For more information, please contact the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at (414) 229-6121 or

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University and Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Her books include Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage; Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland 1864-1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt); and Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory (with Jeffrey Shandler).

She was honored for lifetime achievement by the Foundation of Jewish Culture, received the Mlotek Prize for Yiddish and Yiddish Culture, honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, University of Haifa, and Indiana University, and the 2015 Marshall Sklare Award for her contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry. She was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her contribution to POLIN Museum. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She serves on Advisory Boards for the Council of Amerian Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. She also advises on museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Israel.

Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Public Museum
Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

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