Building National Museums in Europe 1750-2010
European National Museums: Identity politics, the uses of the past and the European Citizen


The building of national museums enables nations and states to claim, negotiate, articulate and represent dominant national narratives with regard to politics, culture, science, and their internal and external boundaries.
Their role has been crucial in communicating history and nationhood in Europe as well as elsewhere.
In this conference the creation of national museums was explored as an integral part of the historical and contemporary processes that drive the dynamic foundation of nations and states.
The conference Building National museums in Europe 1750-2010 (Bologna, March 30-31 - April 1 2011)draws on a comprehensive set of national reports exploring the museum-making process in European states to pose a set of comparative questions. The main comparative themes will be the role of the active agents, the challenges that they faced and face, the visions manifest in their strategies, the integrative thrust of the museum structure (centre-periphery, state-nation), and the consequences of museum-making in relation to states and national identities.
A comprehensive set of national reports exploring the museum-making process in European states to pose a set of comparative questions is now open access at

Eunamus (research project funded under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission ) explores the importance of European national museums to the European Union and beyond, recognising that they are one of the most enduring institutions for establishing, reinforcing and contesting identities. National museums reflect contemporary concepts about nations, and help shape the way we understand what it means to be both a member of a nation and a European citizen. Focussing on how the past is used to create an idea of nations and citizenship, this project examines the complex relationships between individual countries, citizens and the wider world, contributing to debates on cultural policy for the European Union.


Peter Aronsson, Linköping University
Agents, challenges, visions and consequences of national museum making in Europe

Luca Basso Perresut and Gennaro Postiglione, Politecnico Milan
Research projects and new perspectives: European museums and libraries in the Age of Migrations

Margherita Sani, IBC Regione Emilia Romagna and NEMO
Museum networking in Europe

Donata Levi, University of Udine
The Italian Heritage Watchdog

Ilaria Porciani, University of Bologna
Changing roles of history museums in the making of citizens and communities

Interviews on Eunamus:

Interview to Simon Knell

Interview to Kristin Kuutma

Interview to Tony Bennett

Interview to Stefan Berger












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