Cited in sources as tragic museums, uncomfortable heritage museums, and even of shame, memory museums are erected to remember the trauma suffered by communities, in search of democratic healing.
Communities, governments and contemporary society create these memory spaces linked to historical places. Thus forming heritage landscapes that deserve to be preserved as a whole.
Is the idiosyncrasy of these museums important to know how to preserve the collections? Yes, it is. Collections are the soul of a museum, and carry the memory of a community. Knowing aspects such as their origin, concern, purpose and how the collections have been shaped, helps to understand and build the appropriate criteria for their conservation.
Contemporary history and something else? We can say that they are framed in the typology of a museum of contemporary history. They are museums related to the two WWs and the associated extermination strategies. They are also those who recall the terrorist attacks and those political conflicts that turned in social repression. In their narrative, they address the trauma arising from the loss of human lives and the effects of the limitation or nullification of Universal Human Rights, affecting above all minority groups: for political thought, for religion, for culture, for ethnicity, or for not complying with the social standards determined by the totalitarian regime in power. There are perpetrators and there are victims. There is also a society that acts or not.
Museums, archives, heritage landscapes, landmarks whose mission is to preserve heritage and memory collections from the result of warfare, and which are associated with those places of tragedy where they have taken place: concentration camps, forced labor and extermination. Prisons, fortresses, battle lines, and cement.
Also certain points of the local urban framework that recognize and point out its tragedy, such as a train station from which the deportees left for the fields (France), the destruction of a historic bridge (Mostar), as well as that of the religious temples (church, synagogue or mosque). Through multiple commemorative plaques, memorials, monuments and Stolpersteine, they allow memory to be kept alive.
Jewish museums and synagogues, religious-themed museums, history museums, and military museums help us contextualize the typology of the collections we want to keep. The provenances, the message, the values and their significance, especially those that make up the Jewish holocaust or the Shoa, or memory as we have conceptually referred to in previous paragraphs.
In short, memory museums integrate a wide variety of institutions and heterogeneity in their collections. Preservation cannot, should not be limited to the constitutive materiality of the object because the criteria are based on tangible and intangible values to propose the most appropriate intervention. And so, this chain of analysis-reflection-connection.