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  • Tomislav Šola

Understanding The World

Three decades ago when I started teaching theory of heritage I still called it Museology. Things evolved. I have learned to do my best. What saved me from ivory tower professorial syndrome was my 15 years of practice and regular consultancy assignments during my academic career. But, it still helped my students little. I have made and used some 7000 slides to make myself clearer. (Whole professional education is wrongly conceived, but let us sticks to one defect of it). My enquiries into the knowledge of my students proved very disappointing: they knew little of what was happening in the world. I have myself learned that museums are about present, just using the past. My students mostly lacked the understanding of their proper life context. They understood only superficially and in a manner rather distorted by the biased media, what is happening either to them or the society. To run or make heritage institutions without knowing the reality around seemed futile and irresponsible. I have therefore increasingly offered contents that were explaining the world. I have done the same in my lecturing abroad; I am sure many misunderstood my fervent claims about social, economic and political reality. (It is known that museum people like to stay apolitical, - however autistic it is!). It is virtually impossible to do any meaningful job in heritage domain without responding to the needs of users or community, especially not in Europe where the public financing and mission of those institutions is still a rule. Bertrand Russell was expressing this same though general concern in his brilliant way.

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