Museums and their narratives

Museums and their narratives
Is the « national » label a thing from the past?

A roundtable discussion organized within a new cycle of meetings Résonnances / Rezonance by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Adacemy of Sciences, CEFRES, the French Institute in Prague, and the National Gallery in Prague

Date: March 12, 2024, 5:00–6:30 pm
Location: Trade Fair Palace (Veletržní palác), National Gallery Prague Dukelských Hrdinů 47, Prague 7 (Auditorium, 6th floor)
Language: French and Czech with simultaneous translation


Sébastien ALLARD (Director of the Paintings Department, Musée du Louvre),
Danièle COHN (Professor of esthetics and philosophy of art, Université Paris I),
Milena BARTLOVÁ (Professor of art history, Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague – UMPRUM)
& Anna PRAVDOVÁ (Curator of the Modern collections, National Gallery Prague – NGP)
Chair: Lara BONNEAU (philosopher, Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Adacemy of Sciences – FLÚ AV ČR)


Museums have been for a long-time instruments and mirrors of the great national narratives, aiming to inspire as much as to magnify individuals’ sense of belonging to the nation. Nowadays, however, they become often places for problematizing identities and the heritage they protect. They question the very construction of national narratives, link them to the local, the regional and the global, work in the areas of indeterminacy of individual and collective identities, yet also defend the universal nature of the sensory experience that occurs in front of the works.

But can heritage be universal, and if so, in what way? Is the increased reflexivity of museum institutions, reflected in the way their collections are nowadays being rearranged, synonymous with neutrality? What are the artistic and aesthetic, as well as the political and societal, implications of museum classifications and their recent reconfigurations?