Flashcards in Stasiland theme of Museums and Artifacts Deck (10):
Museums as a warning
Throughout the nineties, German society began to categorize and display the artifacts of East German history, in the hopes that these artifacts would remind Germany of its past but also guide the country into the future.
The Stasi HQ museum symbolism
By converting the Stasi headquarters in this way, the new German state sends a clear, triumphant, and arguably self-congratulatory message: namely, that the benevolent, open-minded German government has converted what was once a secretive, totalitarian institution into an open, public space.
Does Funder like museums
Explores how East Germany does, in fact, continue to influence people’s lives long after its collapse. This would explain why Funder finds the various museums she visits in Berlin to be odd and vaguely annoying: they present the legacy of East Germany as a historical curio, arguably disrespecting the lives of the many Germans for whom East Germany is still an intense, psychological reality.
Funder's overall opinion on museums
Funder suggests that German authorities are a little too eager to build museums and, by the same token, too eager to convert the legacy of the East German state into a part of the distant past. In writing Stasiland, by contrast, Funder opts for a gentler, more sensitive approach to East German history, inviting her subjects to talk about how the legacy of the Stasi continues to impact their day-to-day lives.
Embarrassing quote analysis
He's suggesting that Germany isn’t ready to confront its recent past. Germany seems to want to treat GDR history like something to be gawked at in museums, but not really acknowledged as a part of contemporary German culture. Funder aims to show how GDR history is very much a part of contemporary culture, and a crucial part of many Germans’ lives to this day.
"The whole Stasi thing. It’s sort of embarrassing."
Behind glass quote
"Things have been put behind glass, but it is not yet over."
Behind glass quote analysis
From Funder’s perspective, there’s something fundamentally wrong about museums. She argues that museums present history as something that happened a long time ago, without any real relevance to the present day. She disagrees that East German history should be put behind glass. In Stasiland, she shows how it continues to exert a profound influence on the lives of contemporary Germans.
Stasi Museum quote
"The Stasi men would never in their lives have imagined that they would cease to exist and that their offices would be a museum."