We have taken ICOM’s theme for 2017 as our starting point. To control the past is to control our present and future. There may be facts in history, but it’s their interpretation which matters – you tell me your truth and I’ll tell you mine. Even the facts themselves are contested – no, it did not happen is a frequent comment. We now even refer to alternative facts. And there are facts we would prefer to forget. Yet things do happen, people die, Palmyra gets destroyed and the why and how does not seem to matter much.
Saying the unsayable about our history is a difficult area for museums to explore, but this what we aim to address in our conference.