Dariusz Stola to The NPU Conference 2016

by NPU — 2016-06-22

The beauty of the main lobby conveys an important message. When you enter it you immediately realize that it is not a holocaust museum. 

Dariusz Stola will participate in the opning panel adressing cultural responsibility. He argues that the role of a museum reaches beyond the political:

- It is meta-political. Historical museums influence the visitors' imagination and understanding of the past, which may have fundamental impact on their political inclinations and choices. The stronger and deeper is this influence, the greater the museums' responsibility, he explains.

Stola emphazises the striking lack of knowledge about the history of the polish jews in Poland and Western Europe. From the very beginning, the founders of Polin set out to create a museum of life, as opposed to the various Holocaust Museums around the world. 

In the video on the bottom of the page Stola tells the story of the creation of the POLIN museum. 

He recalls a group of colleagues, historians from the Jewish Historical Institute, that went for the opening of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington.

- They were very much oppressed by the Museum. But they also went back disturbed. As they said, they were disturbed because the Jews appear on the scene in the Holocaust museums only to be killed in this last moment before the genocide. Secondly, in a museum that focuses on genocide, the agency is largely with the perpetrators. And they decided that we must have a museum about Jewish life in Poland – about life before the Holocaust. 

Well aware of the tremendous success the Polin museum has experinced since it opened, he looks ahead and finds that the next step is understanding the impact that the Polin experience has on its visitors. 

 What is still ahead of us, is the systematic research on its impact. We plan to make a study of what the visitors remember of it, and what they think on relevant topics, a few months after the visit. We also need to learn more of who our visitors are and why they come. They are a diverse group, consisting of Poles and foreigners, Jews and non-Jews, people of all ages and education levels, coming individually and in groups, those who repeatedly take part in our events and those who come once and will probably never return. We can talk of audiences in plural  rather than a singular audience.

Press the link under to get an impression of Stola and his great ability as speaker and story-teller.