Communicating Conflicting Histories
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Once modernist approach to history started to be contested, primarily by historians themselves, an opportunity arose for museum communication of prismatic, multi-perspective narratives which form a close relationship to people and, moreover, come from people. Communicative memory started to be presented in museums together with “objective” cultural memory. However, juxtapositions of communicative and cultural memory inevitably give birth to oppositions, especially in the case of traumatic experiences such as those resulting from war. The aim of the paper is to analyse the ways in which material culture and memorial sites can trigger contradictory memories and a range of different feelings, and to investigate institutional communication of shared and contested historical narratives in Croatia. The theoretical explication is followed by example thematically related to cultural and communicative memory of the Second World War in Croatia, more precise the Jasenovac Memorial Site/Museum (ex-concentration camp) and changes it witnessed over a half of century due to different political or museological perspectives. The paper also explores, on the one hand, the degree to which communicative memory can be subjected to institutionalization and on the other hand a possibility of making museums and heritage sites polemic platforms which could contribute to reconciliation and recognition of differences.