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The Transnational Turn Meets the Educational Turn

Engaging and Educating Adolescents in History Museums in Europe

Wolfram Kaiser

Keywords: educational turn; European integration; European Union; House of European History; museums; narratives; transnational turns

History museums in Europe are transnationalizing their narratives. In contemporary historical sections they also increasingly include references to European integration and the present-day European Union. This "transnational turn" within a predominately European narrative frame meets the "educational turn." Museums attempt to transform themselves into more interactive spaces of communication. The meeting of these "turns" creates particular challenges of engaging and educating adolescents. I argue that in responding to these challenges, history museums in Europe so far use three main strategies: personalizing history, simulating real life decision-making situations, and encouraging participative narrating of the adolescents' own (transnational) experiences.

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