Event INSTITUT-SoMuM Round Table - Museums in the city and in history (November 17, 2023)

The Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (MMSH), the SoMuM and Arkaïa Institutes, in partnership with the Association des Amis de l’École française de Rome (AmEfr), are organizing a round table on "Museums in the city and in history", on Friday November 17, 2023, from 2pm to 5pm, at the MMSH, Aix-en-Provence, salle Germaine Tillion.

Round table moderator: Catherine Brice, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History, Université Paris-Est-Créteil
Speakers: Alessandro D’Alessio, Director of the Archaeological Park of Ancient Ostia; Fabrice Denise, Director of the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, Chief Curator; Nicolas Misery, Director of the Musée de Marseille, Curator; Stéphane Verger, Director of the Musée National Romain, Director of Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études.

How do museums relate to the cities that house them?

Museums can bring together and present artistic, archaeological and documentary productions relating to a given city’s past, power, function or present connections - everything that constitutes its urban identity.

They are also sometimes concerned with urban space, documenting remarkable objects or events in situ, using virtual technologies to replace the traditional "street signs".

Finally, many museums now have a strong relationship with the local population, whether native, immigrant, transient or settled, offering to build up their collections through donations that illustrate people’s relationship with the city. In addition, the museum’s educational role is emphasized, as is its interaction with the public, who are made aware not only of historical developments, but also of their relationship with the present and future.

We need to question these different missions as tools for generating a common identity shared by different players (public authorities, experts, researchers, cultural players, students and the general public). Does the museum really succeed in bringing people together? How can the museum in the city, in its relations with the city, achieve this goal? Or rather, how can it take account of dividing lines, asperities and enmities? Is it a specific "memory entrepreneur"

These are just some of the questions that this meeting, aimed at representatives of civil society as a whole as well as the scientific community, will address. The focus will be on two cities, Marseille and Rome, with long histories and strong tourist appeal - long-standing in the case of Rome, more recent in the case of Marseille - that appeal to two very different types of audience: the local community and foreigners curious to find out more about the city and its civilization.

Friday, November 17, 2023 - 2pm to 5pm

Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (MMSH), Germaine Tillion room