MUSEUMS IN ACTION2020-08-19T15:33:44+00:00

Museum stories

Do you know about latinoamerican museums actions to promote human rights?

FIHRM-LA invites you to learn more.

Webinar series “Museum stories”
Free registration since August 21th.

First impressions on Article 25 exhibition

Even though exposing an issue is not solving it, making unfair deeds and situations visible contributes to social evolution. Museums are ideal institutions to facilitate this process, and exhibitions are one of their main resources.
Opening Article 25 Exhibition at the first hosting institutions has enabled us to know the initial impressions shared by the visiting public.

Exhibition opening at the Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana (June 14th, Santo Domingo)

Most of them stated they had no knowledge of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or of its Article 25. This implies many people do not know their rights, those rights laid down over 70 years ago in the said Universal Declaration.
This lack of knowledge rekindles FIHRM-LA’s commitment to its mission of fostering educational actions in museums to promote knowledge of and respect for human rights.

Exhibition opening at the Museo Nacional de Colombia (June 20th, Bogota)

The photographs in this exhibition make evident that the right to a decent quality of life, as set forth in Article 25, is violated, to a higher o lesser degree, all over Latin America.
These are images taken in 11 countries. However, identifying where each of them was captured has proved difficult for the visitors. Indeed, portrayed realities are similar because Latin America’s history is a shared history.

Exhibition opening at the Museo Legislativo (June 12th, Mexico City)

The photographs help us understand that the lack and circumstances of “the others” are very close to our own and this strengthens the feeling of brotherhood imperative to remove borders.
We invite you to see these pictures touring the rooms where they are exhibited. We share them together with their authors’ reflections at

Social Responsibility of Museums

By Luisa De Peña Díaz, FIHRM-LA Correspondent in Dominican Republic

“A national museum can not exalt and present the worst violator of human rights recorded in the history of our country. Among the estimated 50,000 direct victims of state terrorism, approximately 25.000 were murdered or are missing. No museum should dedicate a room to such a person and to his personal belongings, raising him to a position of model.”

Full text:

Argentina, a worrisome present and future for human rights 

By Rubén Chababo, FIHRM-LA advisor

Just like many countries in the region, Argentina has made huge efforts to reach the consolidation of its democratic system damaged by the impact of the authoritarian projects developed during the 20th century. In the early 80s, and with the return to democracy, these efforts focused on having the ideals of truth and justice fulfilled by the successive democratic administrations. Albeit the ups and downs, the back and forths, this was significantly achieved. Proof of this, just to mention a few examples, is the outstanding place memory carries in the public agenda or the remarkable number of institutions working, both from the civil and the public sectors, in the promotion of human rights.

However, of late, our country has been unable to make progress in essential issues related to the human rights agenda: the exponential increase of poverty and destitution, the deterioration of the public education system —formerly an Argentinian emblem and cause of pride— and the overwhelming growth of economic inequality, are but a few of the features of a social and political present rampant with uncertainty for millions of Argentinians. If to these data are added the widespread increase in urban violence with its correlate of law enforcement forces corroded by corruption and their almost total disregard for the constitutional rights ofthe citizens they ought to protect, the outcome is a bleak landscape quite different from what our society portrayed as its destination after so much effort devoted to achieve democracy.

Next October, national elections will be held in Argentina. The main political figures with chances to lead Argentina’s destiny have not included human rights in their rhetoric. Neither have they assigned them a prominent place in their agenda. A sad sign that future times will be far removed from what millions of Argentinians wish for and need.

“Article 25” exhibit opened in Guatemala

On May 16th, we opened the photo exhibit “Article 25” at the Instituto Internacional de Aprendizaje para la Reconciliación Social (IIARS) in Guatemala City.

 “This important exhibition is a part of the dialogue that must occur if we are to expose human rights abuses on a global scale. Societies everywhere keep throwing up political systems that indulge and encourage such abuses. This means that those of us who are opposed to such abuses need to be ever-vigilant. We have to ensure that wrong doing is exposed if we are to hold out hope that it may end”. 

Professor David Fleming OBE
President, Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM)

Museums and human rights in Brazil

Excerpt from “Museus e Direitos Humanos no Brasil: um breve ensaio”, by Marilia Bonas, FIHRM-LA Correspondent in Brazil

Brazilian general public might think the relationship between museums and human rights is quite recent; yet, since the end of World War II, both are inseparable. It was amid the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UNESCO’s constitution when memory policies became essential tools in the crusade against barbarism.

In 1964, the institutions and professionals of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) signed a pledge to society. This was enhanced both by the seminar “On the role of museums in Education” organized by UNESCO in New York in 1952, and by the historical regional seminar held in Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art in 1958, attended by participants of every country in Latin America.

The Latin American contribution —and the Brazilian input in particular— to this indelible alliance between museums and human rights has its most powerful document to date in the 1972 Declaration of Santiago de Chile. Born as an outcome of the Round Table ICOM/UNESCO held at the peak of Latin American dictatorships, the Declaration states:

“(…) the museum is an institution at the service of society, of which it is an inalienable part, and it has in its own essence the elements that allow its participation in the formation of consciousness in the communities they serve to, and through that consciousness, it can contribute to their communities’ commitment to action, setting its activity in a historical framework that sheds light on current issues; that is to say linking past and present and committing itself with the prevailing structural changes as well as triggering others within their respective national reality.

Since the Declaration of Santiago up to now, a lot has happened and has been carried out in the area of museums in Brazil and across the world regarding the fight for human rights with countless and successful offspring. Museums that were once sacred temples beyond the reach of the general public became centres for the debate of issues —both big and small— woven into the struggle for a more fair and democratic society with all its complexities and inequalities.

Every museum is a human rights museum, in as much as it is a place where an individual can meet not only himself/herself but also humankind, by means of elements —vectors— whether material or not. These privileged sites, devoted to society and to what society produces under the most diverse agreements, necessarily deal with rights: right to memory, right to identity in its full power and diversity, right to dignity, to education, to work, to housing, to freedom, to migrate and to leisure.

Thus, in current museums there is no more place for hegemonic and colonialist narratives, for purely elitist dynamics, for institutions focused on themselves and on restricted circles, for collections unattainable to the general public, for authoritarian decisions in museological practices or for the absolute subjection to market whims.

Museums and human rights in Colombia

 By Camilo Sánchez, FIHRM-LA Correspondent in Colombia

Colombia is living a crucial moment in its history. At last, after over 50 years of domestic conflict -and although there are voices still intent on denial-, peace glimmers on the horizon. Indeed, problems and misgivings are rampant; yet, for the first time, we share a real chance to live in peace. However, peace cannot be built only by governments and armed groups. It requires all of us, as a society, to be able to debate uneasy facts and feelings. And, certainly, museums should be venues where such debates are fostered. Neither the citizenry nor the museums can be passive agents expecting peace to fall upon them as a miracle.

Thus, contemporary museums have to take an active role in activating spaces for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints which are controversial, sensitive and relevant to the society they owe their existence to. All the more so in countries under armed conflict.

Unfortunately, many understand peace as the utter lack of conflict. The antithesis of confrontation. This is, of course, unreal. Peace can only be achieved when we acknowledge that conflict is omnipresent and unavoidable. We just need to have the proper tools to deal with it. And, perhaps, human rights are the most important of these tools.

Memory museums projects have been under development in several cities of the country. In a couple of years, the Museo de Memoria Histórica de Colombia will be opening its doors. Notwithstanding, as it has happened in other countries of the region, the creation of spaces for memory of the conflict is taken by most museums as a relief…since, as somebody else is already addressing these controversial issues, they do not have to come out of their comfort zone.

The huge challenge for all Colombian museums is to face these sensitive issues regardless of their typology. It is possible to speak of peace, conflict and human rights from every conceivable angle, from natural history to contemporary art, all across the whole array of museum types already active in the country.

Social appropriation of human rights remains the key to better lives for all of us. If museums do not take the lead to achieve a better society and to become meeting venues for debating issues common to all of us, no one else will.

Photo exhibit “Article 25” first venue

As from April 25th, the 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Museum for International Democracy (Museo Internacional para la Democracia) in the city of Rosario, Argentina, as part of the opening of its new exhibition space.

The Museum was created to “foster freedom of expression, respect for the other and debate on different ideas”. His founder, Guillermo Whpei stated, “This is a place to reflect upon Democracy. To debate on what is pending. A place to fight for a better democracy, more inclusive, more participative, more equitative”.

The Museum of International Democracy, as well as each one of the museums exhibiting the contest photos, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Peru

The 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (LUM) in the city of Lima.

LUM is part of Peru’s Ministry of Culture. It offers different activities intended to generate debate on human rights subjects focusing on the violent period of 1980-2000, ignited by terrorist groups and suffered by the whole of the Peruvian society. It is an institution promoting critical objective judgement of violent discourses which seriously affect people’s integrity and seeking the coexistence of an array of memories aiming at reciprocal learning.

LUM, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Chile

The 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, in the city of Santiago.

Inaugurated in 2010, this museum was born with the aim of providing visibility to human rights violations perpetrated by the Chilean State between 1973 and 1990. It is a space devoted to helping the culture of human rights and democratic values become a shared ethical foundation, stemming from reflection and debate on the importance of respect and tolerance.

The Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Colombia

As from June 20th, the 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Colombia, in the city of Bogota.

Created in 1823, this museum is one of the oldest in America. It welcomes its visitors with seventeen permanent exhibition rooms, where over 2500 works of art and items are shown, symbols of Colombia’s national history. It is a gathering venue for Colombia’s citizens as well as for citizens of the world, with their heritage, a place for dialogue, celebration, acknowledgement and reflection on the past, the present and the future.

The Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Dominican Republic

As from June 14th, the 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana in Santo Domingo.

The MMRD aims at rescuing and preserving the Dominicans historical memory. Its goal is to contribute to the consolidation of a society based on the culture of peace, tolerance, non-discrimination, truth, justice and respect for human rights, nurturing civic virtues in a responsible citizenry so as to avoid abuse and violence from the State and groups of power.

The MMRD, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Mexico

As from June 12th, the 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Museo Legislativo “Sentimientos de la Nación” in Mexico City.

The Museo Legislativo offers a space for reflection and dialogue. By promoting democratic principles, a culture of lawfulness and rule of law among the visiting public, it aims at helping to shape a participative, tolerant, reflecting, society-transforming citizenry.

The Museo Legislativo, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

“Article 25” photo exhibit in Guatemala

As from May 16th, the 30 photos selected in the Contest “Article 25” ( will be exhibited at the Instituto Internacional de Aprendizaje para la Reconciliación Social (IIARS) in Guatemala City.

The IIARS was created in 2007 with the aim of providing a space for discussion and learning about the problems Guatemalans face regarding social reconciliation as a result of their armed conflicts, of their long history of racism and the social exclusions they have undergone.

The IIARS, as well as all the museums that will exhibit the photos selected during the contest, are institutions managed to promote the enforcement of Human Rights. As such, they are the venues chosen by FIHRM-LA to share the vision of members of diverse communities now reflected in the images captured by their cameras.

The #UDHRquilt Project at MoAD, Australia

The #UDHRquilt Project is a collaborative craftivism initiative documenting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It uses craft as a tool and a strategy to celebrate the UHDR and raise awareness to the ways it is challenged—even violated—around the world today.

At a time when the patchwork of liberties is fraying, craftivism is a global movement that combines craft and activism into quietly powerful protest for those aspiring to bring about social and political change. Craftivism allows people to actively engage in democracy, seek social change, and hope to transform the world one stitch at a time.

Central to the project are four large quilted wall hangings, each featuring 30 embroidered blocks representing the 30 Articles of the UDHR. The blocks critically engage with the Articles, celebrating the intrinsic meanings of this landmark document, now in its 70th year, while also drawing attention to local and global human rights issues. The messages sewn into the quilts aim to inspire visitors think, engage and take action.

Aided by the power of social media, Australian craftivist Tal Fitzpatrick and fellow USA based craftivist Stephanie Dunlap put the call out for collaborators. The quilts have been created by artists who either live or have cultural heritage in every continent on the planet except Antarctica. From Australia to Argentina; India to Estonia; South Africa to Sweden, these 131 artists built a community based on mutual support and respect, a passion for craft and textiles, and a dedication to defending human rights for all.

The #UDHRquilt Project moves beyond a traditional museum experience by inviting visitors to get involved. Visitors can immerse themselves in craftivism by participating in a range of hands-on craft activities, workshops and community-based events. Textile artist, Tal Fitzpatrick, will be on hand for special events throughout the exhibition to facilitate workshops and discuss the everyday practice of democracy through craftivism.

Learn more about the project, the quilts and the craftivists at the #UDHRquilt Project website.


III International Meeting of Memory Museum Meeting at LUM, Peru

Hosted by Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (LUM, [Place for Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion]) in the city of Lima, Peru, the III International Meeting of Spaces of Memory was held on December 12th – 13th. The meeting was organized as master lectures and workshops devoted to thinking the ways Latin American museums address the issues of their traumatic pasts. This third gathering focused also on the legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -its 70th Anniversary was celebrated last December 10th– and on the importance of fostering connections between the diverse memory initiatives in order to establish support and exchange networks at the national and Latin American level to further commitment for joint action.

Representatives from Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Peru participated in this international event. With each of their presentations, they managed to weave a powerful patchwork of visions and interpretations of the ways our contemporary societies accept or reject the legacy of memory transmission.

The Museo Casa de la Memoria of Medellin, was represented by its former Director, Adriana Valderrama, who analysed the complex processes that Colombian society has undergone and still undergoes after over 50 years of armed conflict. Chile’s Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos was represented by Rayén Gutiérrez Cortés, who shared the new thematic propositions of the institution and the expansion of its activities aiming at understanding the new dilemmas in the Chilean cultural and political arena. Argentina was represented by Rubén Chababo, university professor and FIHRM-LA advisor, who proposed reflecting on the significance of memory spaces as necessary links between painful pasts and current times, ravaged by violent phenomena. Spaniards Jordi Ibánez Fanés, from Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona and Miguel Vázquez Liñán, from Universidad de Sevilla presented the still current issue of the Spanish Civil War historical memory in present day Spain. Two key characters of the Peruvian contemporary cultural scene, Victor Vich, professor and researcher at the Universidad Católica de Perú, expert on issues related to politics and culture, and José Carlos Agüero, writer and author of Los rendidos [The conquered ones] y Persona two crucial texts to understand the underlying complexity of the Peruvian armed conflict.

Both the presentations and the workshops delivered by the representatives of these institutions and countries allowed for reflection and debate on the complex responsibility memory spaces have when addressing these past times, whether by means of narrative scripts that challenge public interest, or by dealing with controversial areas and chapters of their past. The subjects of audiences, education and forms of representation were also present, as well as the responsibility each of the different States has in their duty of supporting and sustaining these memory projects.

LUM welcomed this intense activity program in its headquarters, located in Miraflores neighbourhood. It is an imposing building on the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean built but a few years ago with the intent of interpreting and transmitting to new generations the drama that the armed conflict against the guerrilla forces of Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path] meant for the country. The conflict not only left thousands of missing and murdered people but also devastated wide areas of Peru due to the intensity and violence that characterized that war.

Once again, this III International Meeting made clear the importance that addressing these traumatic pasts has for society as well as the need and usefulness of comparing and sharing different museum experiences so that, in this way, learning can be drawn to enhance institutional efforts.

Source: Rubén Chababo, FIHRM-LA advisor.

Meeting Adele Chynoweth: Reflections on the future of human rights museums

I recently met Adele Chynoweth in Canberra.

Canberra is Australia’s national capital and home to the country’s major cultural institutions – the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the Museum of Australian Democracy, for example. Adele and I visited some of these museums and as we walked together through the exhibits, Adele reflected on whether it is adequate to simply exhibit narratives pertaining to human rights.

“Yes, societies have short memories and yes, museums can challenge our collective forgetting but is it enough to exhibit the difficult episodes of history?”, Adele asked.

“Have we replaced the nineteenth century cabinet-of-curiosity for provocative narratives from the realm of social history?”, she pondered. “Are we merely, through these social history displays, providing more educational opportunities for those middle-class visitors, who already have access to education?”.

Adele admitted that some museums don’t even do that.

“It is as though they have a systematized  allergy to anything controversial”, Adele noted after seeing several displays that celebrated marriage equality in Australia, which was achieved a year ago.

“In some Australian museums, a difficult issue has to be discussed by mainstream press and television before they will touch it”, Adele stated.

“Here the museum simply re-mediatises the hitherto mediatised subject. Leave it for others to be in the front line and wait until the topic has been discussed to death, processed, sanitized, conceded and so now all that is left for the museum curator to do is to simply re-badge and re-frame it– a once-contentious issue is now rendered safe, compartmentalised and non-controversial. The museum visitor then simply marvels at the design, the object, the display – the spectacle is the how, not the what”.

“But not all museums are like that,” Adele conceded. “There are compelling and courageous exhibitions throughout the world but I am interested in the next step – not just discussing whether or not we should exhibit the difficult and controversial – yes we should. That’s obvious. We need a further international dialogue now. We need to consider, how in the process of sourcing and displaying human rights narratives that we are not reinforcing dominant power relationships. Do we excavate the personal testimonies of survivors and the marginalised in order to enrich the authority of the privileged, to allow them a few minutes of empathy that they can subsequently share with the peers in those settings that increase their social capital?”.

Adele’s discussion is inspired by the commentary of academic and museum professional, Bernadette Lynch, on this and also the work of Sarah Smed who collegially leads life-changing work at the Danish Welfare Museum. She has learnt, too, from her own campaigning with survivors of instututionalised child abuse.

“Our focus should not only be on educating and raising awareness amongst museum visitors but to turn our attention to the marginalised”, Adele believes. “What can vulnerable people teach us? We take their stories. What might they rightfully demand from our museums in return? We need to shut up and listen not just for material to exhibit but in order to collegially formulate the blueprint for social change. And how will that change our priorities and our practice now and in the future?”.

These are urgent questions. We value the resonance it has for our work at FIHRM-LA. Then we decided to share it, so that all the members of the FIHRM-LA community can get involved in these reflections. And we hope that soon you can add your opinion!

About Adele Chynoweth
Adele is a lecturer at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University (ANU) and an international consultant for Welfare Stories: from the Edge of Society, a social history and justice project undertaken in Denmark, in collaboration with the Welfare Museum, Svendborg and the Centre for Welfare State Research, University of Southern Denmark. She has also curated exhibitions, including the National Museum of Australia’s touring exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions. At the 2017 FIHRM conference in Rosario, Argentina, spoke about her work as a researcher and campaigner with former child inmates of an adult psychiatric facility in Brisbane, Australia– children who did not have a mental illness and who had not committed a crime but who were labeled juvenile delinquents simply for running away from abusive situations, usually orphanages. In 2017, the Queensland Government finally granted these survivors ex-gratia payments. In recognition of her work, last month at ANU, she was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Public Policy and Outreach.

Source: Susana Meden, FIHRM-LA CEO

Exhibition on the Acteal Massacre at the Museo Legislativo

Last November 21st, the Museo Legislativo “Sentimientos de la Nación” [“Feelings of the Nation” Legislative Museum] located in Mexico City, opened the photographic exhibition “21 years after the Acteal massacre. Women of X’Oyep by Pedro Valtierra”. This exhibition is the result of the joint effort of the Museo Legislativo and Pedro Valtierra Foundation.

By means of photographic images, a paper (freely downloadable, both in Spanish and in English) and a multimedia presentation, the events that occurred in the community of Acteal, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, from December 22, 1997 are described: 45 unarmed Tzotzil indigenous persons were massacred by members of a paramilitary group in the region while they were praying inside a Christian Church.

Pedro Valtierras’s photojournalistic work managed to attract international attention on the event. On January 3, 1998 Valtierra caught with his lenses the moment when indigenous women faced the military forces in X’Oyep. The image that designates the exhibition bears witness to the violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights.

The temporary exhibition is comprised of ten photographs taken by Pedro Valtierra. In each of them, the line-up of the Zapatist Army of National Liberation, the repressive policies of the Mexican State and the dire consequences of paramilitary intervention in the Southeastern regions of the country -which provided the framework for the massacre- are told.

The exhibition presents part of this photographic heritage lest people forget that over two decades after the massacre, the crime is still unpunished and there has be no effective enforcement of the victims’ human rights, although the massacre has been deemed a State crime by different associations.

The exhibition can be visited until January 17,2019.

Source: Diana Gaytán Jiménez and Ricardo Rodríguez, correspondents for FIHRM-LA in Mexico.

Exhibition “How did we get here?” in Guatemala

The Interactive Exhibition “How did we get here?” is a project from the Instituto Internacional de Aprendizaje para la Reconciliación Social (IIARS, International Institute of Learning for Social Reconciliation) that is being held in the city of Guatemala.

The purpose of the Exhibition is to promote a wider knowledge of the social challenges Guatemalan people face as a result of their long history of racism, discrimination, inequality and violence that lead to a 36-year domestic armed conflict (1960-1996). The IIARS develops methodologies, educational resources and materials that enable teachers to address these difficult issues with their students in the classrooms. The exhibition is visited by school-age children and adolescents.

As part of the 2018 school calendar, a workshop targeted at teachers was organized together with the Ministry of Education of Guatemala. The aim was to prepare teachers to honour the week of cultural diversity. Over a 1000 teachers of primary and secondary education from the greater Guatemala area attended this workshop in June at the headquarters of the Exhibition. They received educational supplies to celebrate cultural diversity in the schools. From July 16th to 20th the teachers replicated the educational activities suggested at the workshop with their students in the classrooms or visited the Exhibition.

The IIARS, together with the Ministry of Education and over 20 Guatemalan and International Institutions joined at a Technical Round Table of Education for Peace, Memory and Human Rights, promotes the reformulation of civil training in the Guatemalan educational system.

More information at:

Source: Vivian Salazar Monzón, correspondent for FIHRM-LA in Guatemala.

Exhibition in the hall “Hacer sociedad” [Building society] in the Museo Nacional de Colombia

During many years, the “L” or “Bronx Street” was a stigmatized, violent place in the city of Bogotá. Yet it was also a venue where people from different origins, ages and social standing could meet. On May 28th 2016, the Superior Mayoralty of Bogota cleared the sector as part of a program of public security and urban renovation. After the eviction, some young people who used to live there were taken to the Instituto Distrital para la Protección de la Niñez y la Juventud (IDIPRON, [District Institution for the Protection of Childhood and Youth]) where they started a process of social inclusion and relief of harm through artistic and creative activities. Later, it became possible to bring those young people to the Museo Nacional de Colombia [National Museum of Colombia] to generate tours, educational activities and curatorial propositions with them.

Stories from the “L”. Assembling a world in a scale model is an exhibit in which a group of young people will build a scale model of the “L”, while they talk with visitors and experts about their experiences. Together with the scale model, photographs taken after the dismantling of the place and a glossary created by the young people with the vocabulary they used in the streets will also be exhibited.

The project with the young people from IDIPRON is part of the initiative to bring to the Museum populations who have been historically stigmatized and excluded from the cultural circuits. This project aims at generating reflections on contemporary social problems. The exhibit is the result of the participative work developed by the Curaduría de Etnografía del Museo Nacional de Colombia [Etnography Curatorship of the National Museum of Colombia] in agreement with the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (ICANH, [Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History]) and IDIPRON.

The “L” scale model will be exhibited in the hall “Hacer sociedad” of the National Museum. Its goal is to show historical processes of ideological, social and political coexistence and confrontation since pre-Hispanic times up to the 21st century.

Source: Camilo Sánchez, correspondent for FIHRM-LA in Colombia.