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History on Display: How Viewers Respond

A workshop on new technologies for measuring visitors’ responses at historical museums

February 14, 2014 • 10AM-1PM

Columbia University, International Affairs Building, Room 918

  • Denis Peschanski, History, CNRS, Université Paris I
  • Yves Burnod, Neuroscience, Université Paris VI – Pierre and Marie Curie
  • Adam Brown, Psychology, Sarah Lawrence College
  • Marianne Hirsch, English and Comparative Literature and Women, Gender and Sexuality, Columbia University

Part of the Politics of Memory in Global Context series, Denis Peschanski and Yves Burnod presented an innovative experiment using eye-tracking technology and Inspot smart sensors to measure what visitors to historical museums look at and for how long. Conducted at the Mémorial de Caen, the French national museum on the Second World War, the experiment attempted to uncover how memorial and historical sites affect—and are affected by—the brain dynamics of memory. This research is part of the MATRICE project, which uses a technological approach to understanding the relationship between individual and collective memory.

The presentation was followed by a discussion by Adam Brown, a cognitive psychologist who investigates the construction of autobiographical memory, and Marianne Hirsch, celebrated for her work on Holocaust memory.


About the Politics of Memory in Global Context

Bringing together scholars of memory from the social sciences and humanities, cognitive science and neuroscience, and curators of historical and memorial museums to examine the politics and cultures of memory.

Politics of Memory in Global Context bannerThe Politics of Memory in Global Context is a Franco-American collaborative project that brings together scholars in the social sciences and humanities who work on collective or public memory; cognitive scientists, psychologists, and neuroscientists who work on individual memory; and curators of historical and memorial museums who present the past to the public.  The main museum partners are the Mémorial de Caen, the national World War II museum in France, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York.

Led by Professor Carol Gluck at Columbia, the project combines diverse disciplinary approaches and insists on considering its topics comparatively in global context in order to discern commonalities among them,  develop new analytic perspectives on the formation and operation of public memory, and  suggest policies for better political management of divisive memories within and between countries.

Learn more about the Politics of Memory in Global Context.