This essay aims to share with the readers of The Public Historian some of the challenges, thoughts, and conclusions that I encountered as a historian during the planning and execution of content for the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. As the essay illustrates, this extraordinary project sat at the intersection of a troubled history, widely divergent popular memories and national narratives, and divisive contemporary politics. The essay’s possible uses are twofold: first, it offers insight for professionals into the intricacies of creating a large-scale, historically accurate museum in a complex political environment in today’s Russia; second, it may help give some guidance to historians who find themselves in similar scenarios.
Between Myths, Memories, History, and Politics: Creating Content for Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
Jonathan Dekel-Chen is a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Israel. His current research and publications deal with Jewish transnational advocacy, philanthropy and the history of agricultural resettlement. From 2009–2012 he was a member of the Content Committee for the creation of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. He is currently exploring the establishment of an International Institute of Applied Humanities. In 2014 he co-founded the Bikurim Youth Village for the Performing Arts in Eshkol, which provides world-class professional training for under-served high school students from throughout Israel.
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Jonathan Dekel-Chen; Between Myths, Memories, History, and Politics: Creating Content for Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. The Public Historian 1 November 2018; 40 (4): 91–106. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2018.40.4.91
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