Places and historic sites can be powerful places that hold the potential to be transformed into a site of conscience. This dialogue features resource practitioners from the International Coalition, who are dedicated to remembering past struggles for justice and addressing their contemporary legacies.
The following table of contents was developed to make the dialogue easier to navigate. Important themes and different discussions have been highlighted for archival purposes and for new users.
Introduction to Sites and Personal Experiences
Contemporary Uses of History
The Healing Process
Creation of Programs and Methods
During the week of October 24 to October 30, the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience members Sarwar Ali, Trustee from the Liberation War Museum (Bangladesh); Sojin Kim,Exhibition Curator from the Japanese American NationalMuseum(United States) and Ereshnee Naidu, Director of Programs at theInternational Coalition office in New York were our featured resource practitioners for the discussion.
Please feel free to continue to contribute your comments and ideas to the discussion and let us know what tactics you'd like to discuss in the future by sending your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscienceis a network of historic sites dedicated to remembering past strugglesfor justice and addressing their contemporary legacies. The Coalitionwas founded in 1999 by Memoria Abierta in Argentina, the Gulag Museumin Russia, the Slave House in Senegal, Lower East Side Tenement Museumin the United States, and other historic sites that activate the pastas a catalyst for citizen engagement in current issues. Working in bothtransitional societies and long-established democracies, Sites ofConscience use historic preservation, oral history, art installations,and exhibits as the basis for public dialogues, community organizing,and other processes critical for building lasting cultures of humanrights. Since its founding, the Coalition has grown to 17 Sites ofConscience leading a network of over 1700 initiatives in 90 differentcountries. The Coalition provides direct funding for innovativeprograms at historic sites that foster dialogue on contemporary issues;organizes learning exchanges among member sites, from 1-1collaborations to international conferences; and conducts strategicadvocacy on behalf of member sites and the Sites of Consciencemovement.
Liberation War Museum
The Liberation War Museumwas established in March 22, 1996, by a Board of Trustees so thatfuture generations can learn about the genocide unleashed by Pakistan military rulers and their fundamentalist collaborators; the heroicresistance of a united people; and international support fromgovernments, public leaders, and media that led to the emergence of Bangladesh as a secular democratic state. The Liberation War Museum, with the help of the Bangladesh Army, excavated two killing fields and displays the uncovered human remains of martyrs. The Liberation WarMuseum focuses on the young generation through its Outreach and Mobile Museum for students and endeavors to link the contemporary issues of communal harmony against human rights abuses and fundamentalist tendencies to uphold the ideals of the liberation war (e g. democracy, secularism and nationalism) as incorporated in the 1972 Bangladesh constitution.
The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to promotingunderstanding and appreciation for America’s diversity by sharing theJapanese American story. It is affiliated with the National Center forthe Preservation of Democracy, founded to promote principles ofdemocracy and to inspire civic participation. The Nishi HongwanjiBuddhist Temple was built as a place of worship in 1925 in Little Tokyoand was later designated an assembly point for thousands of JapaneseAmerican citizens prior to their removal to one of the 10 U.S.concentration camps. The Temple housed the Japanese American NationalMuseum from 1992 to 2000. In fall of 2004, it was transformed into theheadquarters of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracywhose mission is to promote principles of democracy and civicparticipation. The National Center and the Japanese American NationalMuseum are connected by a public plaza and together constitute animportant site for civic life.
Share your own sites of memory or historical power places in your community that hold the potential to be transformed into a site of conscience. Talk with the discussion resource practitioners from the International Coalition about you can start to build it.