How do you exhibit National Socialism?

Dr Thomas Brodie, Lecturer in 20th- Century European History, shares his experience of visiting and speaking at a conference in Nuremberg.

A picture containing the building skyline of the City of Nuremberg in Germany

The skyline of the City of Nuremberg, Germany.

The Nuremberg City Council is currently in the process of creating a new museum exhibition accompanying the Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds located in the city, creating a larger and more up-to-date installation than existed from 2001-2020.

Nuremberg's Museum Directors organised the conference ‘Exhibiting National Socialism: Approaches, Perspectives and Challenges in the 21 Century’ to invite input and discussion regarding their plans from historians, art historians, teachers and museum directors. Discussions at the conference addressed questions such as how the Nazi past should be represented in a museum exhibition, which methods are best suited to engage diverse German as well as international audiences; and what role photographs and objects should play in this context. The conference also discussed the challenge of representing this past now it is receding beyond the horizon of living memory.

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the conference in Nuremberg, and to participate in the conversations regarding the creation of the new expanded exhibition. The city's plans are very exciting, and I look forward to working with the team at the Nuremberg Museums over the coming years.

Dr Thomas Brodie

The specific event in which Dr Thomas Brodie participated was a podium discussion on 5 October, when Professor Magnus Brechtken (Institute for Contemporary History, Munich), Dr Andrea Genest (Ravensbrueck Memorial Centre) and Dr Brodie himself discussed 'Does the Third Reich have a Master Narrative?'

During the current remodelling of the Documentation Centre, an Interim Exhibition provides a comprehensive picture of the history of the site and of the Nazi Party Rallies. Signboards distributed around the Rally Grounds themselves – which spread across some four sq km, or 1.5 sq miles – talk about the history of various locales.