Universiteit Leiden

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Valedictory lecture

A Society in Distress, The Role of Museums

Monday 8 April 2024
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

There is a general feeling of uncertainty and despair in our society. Is this a specific situation of recent times? Or is it also a historical and a more universal phenomenon? We are now confronted with various violent conflicts in the world, discussions about migration, climate change and the rise of radical right-wing parties and authoritarian regimes everywhere in world. We should wonder how heritage institutions, such as museums, react or should react on all these problems. Museums are not just meant to admire beautiful or rare things, they also have a more active societal task. Do they take this seriously? Or is there room for improvement?

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