Opening Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the occasion of the kick-off event of TheMuseumsLab

19.05.2021 - Speech

Have you ever heard of the so-called “Until it’s Gone Syndrome”?

Well, I think we have all experienced it during this pandemic.

With friends and families in lockdown, and theatres, cinemas and museums closed, we have started to miss things that we took for granted before. Because we didn’t know what we had until it was gone.

What we do know, however, is that cultural institutions like museums will be crucial to our re-covery from the current crisis and from the wounds it is leaving in our societies.

Museums are more than just collections.

They serve as a window to our past. They allow us to come together and reflect on our present. And in doing so, they help us build bridges into the future.

That was also the idea behind TheMuseumsLab.

And I am grateful to all of you, our friends and partners, for turning it into a reality.

With TheMuseumsLab, we are establishing

  • a platform for learning and exchange;
  • a space for reinvention and creation among African and German experts and young profes-sionals;
  • and a network for discussion and reflection about our colonial past and the question of re-turn of artwork that is linked to it.

In doing so, ladies and gentlemen, TheMuseumsLab will not only produce new knowledge and ideas. It could also revolutionise the way we see museums themselves in the future:

Not just as temples of knowledge or shrines of beauty.

But as places that connect us – by allowing us to experience our shared humanity.


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