As public institutions that serve society by conserving and communicating the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity, museums aim to provide opportunities for social groups to engage with their unique collections and gain ‘unforgettable’ experiences (López-Sintas et al., 2012). As with many other cultural institutions, museums are highly dependent on national histories, traditions and funding, and vary widely by organizational structure, audiences and exhibits.
Contemporary museums of memory are united by an important social function of perpetuation and edification, but each museum is contextual and creates its own form of representation, rhetoric, and a measure of performance memory of past events. Describing and understanding specific genres as social actions in a particular social and political context allows researchers to explore museums more effectively. A prerequisite for this efficiency is perhaps the performativity of current styles of museum exposition, as well as tracking the resonance as a response to the coherence of the content and form of museum practice. Thus, a museum visitor is not only an object of a directed museum narrative that has social and rhetorical-moralizing tasks, but also a subject resonating in interactive commemoration mode, experiencing and emotionally responding to a participant in the interaction. So, the object of this article is emotions and affects, generated intentionally or spontaneously in relation to plots of institutionalized commemoration. Empirical cases, designed to illustrate the production of emotions and affects, will cover a wide repertoire of commemoration - from restrained to pathetic, museum and extramusean, imposed and spontaneous.
Through an analysis of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, a memorial complex opened in Yekaterinburg in 2015, Boltunova examines the formation of memory of Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin and, more broadly, of the 1990s. The new museum's collection is interpreted in the context of American and Russian cultural and historical traditions. Boltunova pays particular attention to the memorial strategies that emerged during Russia's imperial period. She demonstrates how imperial-era standpoints became the foundation for the creation of the Soviet formation of memories about leaders, and addresses the question of how useful they proved for the formation of memories about Yeltsin.
The article is devoted to the history of the formation of museums in the places of the former Gulag camps in the Perm region, primarily the "Memorial complex of the history of political repressions" in Kuchino village, better known as "Perm-36". The conditions of its creation and conflicts around the museum are considered, continuing until the change of its leadership in 2013. Drawing on the experience of working with the "negative heritage" in Europe after World War II, the article demonstrates the features of preserving and using such resources in Russia by the example of the Perm region, where were preserved the remains of the former Gulag camps. Unlike Germany and Poland, where the places of former Nazi concentration camps were turned into museums and memorial complexes as early as the late 1940s, Russia began to work with the legacy of the Gulag only after the collapse of USSR. In post-Soviet Russia, Stalinist camps are almost not preserved: most of them have collapsed from time, and the surviving buildings are most often at a distance from populated areas, especially in the north and north-east of Siberia. The main emphasis is the role played by former prisoners, guards and historians in creating museums. The article traces the differences in the perception of Stalinist repressions among the participants in the process of memorialization. So, in response to the creation in 1994 of the memorial complex "Perm-36" on the site of the former Gulag camp, where the Stalinist repressions and the Gulag were shown from the standpoint of the victims, on May 9, 1998, on the site of another previous camp in the village of Tsentralny was established another museum, its exposition tells the story of the correctional institutions and the camp schedule from the point of view of personnel and employees of the state correctional system. Prisoners in it are considered exclusively as criminals, regardless of the article on which they were convicted. Despite the fact that "Perm-36" in its structure is an analogue of the memorial museums on the sites of the former concentration camps of Nazi Germany, the approaches and conditions for its creation were completely different. In Europe, most of the former camps were restored and museumed at the expense of the Ministry of Culture of Germany, Poland and other countries where the concentration camps were located, while in Russia these were private proposals from below. This leads to the fact that the "different memories" of people about the Soviet camps of the Gulag system are represented differently in museums, reflecting opposing views and assessing the events of that time.