Article | National Museums and the Negotiation of Difficult Pasts: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Brussels 26-27 January 2012: EuNaMus Report No 8 | and#8217;Reluctant Museumsand#8217;: between a church and a museum. Displaying religion in Cypriot museums Linköping University Electronic Press Conference Proceedings
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Title:
and#8217;Reluctant Museumsand#8217;: between a church and a museum. Displaying religion in Cypriot museums
Author:
Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert: Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus Alexandra Bounia: University of the Aegean, Greece
Download:
Full text (pdf)
Year:
2012
Conference:
National Museums and the Negotiation of Difficult Pasts: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Brussels 26-27 January 2012: EuNaMus Report No 8
Issue:
082
Article no.:
004
Pages:
61-76
No. of pages:
16
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2012-01-17
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet


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In the 1990’s a new kind of museum appeared in the North; mainly Muslim; part of Cyprus: Orthodox Christian churches that have been dis-used after the events of 1974; were turned into icon museums. In these museums; religious objects (mainly icons) have been displaced; ironically not from their natural place; which is the church; but from their original function; which is that of worship. Furthermore; the administration and ownership changed from their legal owners (the church of Cyprus and the Greek Orthodox people) to that of an occupying force of a different religion of the self-declared “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC).

After briefly presenting the on-going claims made by both Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities regarding the destruction of religious sites and the illegal trafficking of religious objects; this paper will examine issues of cultural ownership and “heritage wars” as these are exemplified in the the five icon museums; currently under the supervision of TRNC’s “Department of Antiquities and Museums”. These museums seem to take different forms depending on the national claims of the two communities. For the Republic of Cyprus; they are either seen as proof of the purposeful and continuous cultural destruction of Christian religious sites or as spaces which are temporarily «out of order» due to the Turkish occupation and which will resume their normal function as soon as a solution is found. On the other hand; for the TRNC; icon museums are the answer to Greek Cypriot accusations for cultural destruction and a public display of respect and religious tolerance. As a result; these museums are in limbo between permanent; neutral institutions (as museums are supposed to be) and temporary; emotional ones. These ‘reluctant museums’ bring to the forefront issues of ownership and purpose; of religious and national representation; of restitution of cultural property and peaceful cultural co-existence.

National Museums and the Negotiation of Difficult Pasts: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Brussels 26-27 January 2012: EuNaMus Report No 8

Author:
Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Alexandra Bounia
Title:
and#8217;Reluctant Museumsand#8217;: between a church and a museum. Displaying religion in Cypriot museums
References:
No references available

National Museums and the Negotiation of Difficult Pasts: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Brussels 26-27 January 2012: EuNaMus Report No 8

Author:
Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Alexandra Bounia
Title:
and#8217;Reluctant Museumsand#8217;: between a church and a museum. Displaying religion in Cypriot museums
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