INMP Newsletter No. 29 December 2019
Exhibition at UN Museum Geneva:
100 Years of Multilateralism in Geneva
Following the end of World War I, the League of Nations was established in 1919, taking its seat in Geneva in 1920. In the hundred years since then, the city has seen the creation of many other international agencies and organizations, and numerous international conferences have been held here and agreements signed. This is documented in the exhibition, 100 Years of Multilateralism in Geneva at the UN Museum Geneva (in the Library Building of the Palais des Nations, since 1946 the European office of the UN). The centenary opened on 24th April 2019 (International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace) and will conclude on 15th November 2020 (anniversary of the First Assembly of the League). A gallery of images (each of which can be enlarged) of photographs, documents, books, letters, posters, etc. on display in the exhibition can be seen here.
At the same time, Geneva is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UN in 2020. To mark the anniversary, the UN is launching the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want. For a short (five minute) video, including an invitation by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to participate in this conversation, click here.
International Network of Museums for Peace
A second, related exhibition, is shown in the Martin Bodmer Foundation, entitled War and Peace, from 5th October 2019 until 1st March 2020. The exhibition aims to help visitors understand the eternal dialogue between humanity’s belligerency and its profound desire for peace. The display is constructed around three themes: the genesis of war, the destruction caused by war, and the desire for peace. The narratives and documents presented are drawn from the arts, literature, religion, philosophy, and law and politics. The Foundation comprises a museum on the history of civilization since the invention of writing, and a famous library of precious books and manuscripts from around the world.
The third exhibition, Pages – 150 years of the International Review of the Red Cross, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the world’s oldest publication (founded in 1869) devoted to international humanitarian law, policy, and action. Opened on 30th October 2019 and closing on 30th April 2020, the exhibition is at Humanitarium, a venue of the International Committee of the Red Cross for dialogue and events. Pages highlight the role of the Review in disseminating progress in international law related to armed conflict and innovation in humanitarian response over the past 150 years. Visitors are invited to delve into the more than 110,000 pages that form the rich history of the journal. For an overview of all three exhibitions, go here, here, and here.
For a calendar of events, click here. One of the events is the launching, on 1st March 2020, of the restored Celestial Sphere. This beautiful artwork (by US artist Paul H. Manship) has adorned the park of the Palais des Nations since its unveiling in 1939 and since 1946 has been an emblem of the UN in Geneva. For more information, go here. (Also see below for The Humanitarian Trail in Geneva).
from all over the world in an exhibition titled Posters unpacked. The Museum has been collecting posters since its opening in 1988 and today possesses more than 10,000. They date from 1866, three years after the Red Cross was founded, to the present. Many have been acquired from or donated by, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The posters were designed to convey a wide range of messages to the public such as appeals for blood donation, disease prevention, emergency response to natural disaster or war, encourage proper hygiene, first-aid training, fundraising, volunteer recruitment. Some serve as calls to action, while others warn of danger, provide information, or promote the humanitarian cause. The temporary exhibition was opened on 2nd October 2019 and will last until 26th January 2020.
Posters: The Collection of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (published by Silvana Editoriale in Cinisello Balsamo/Milan). For more information, go here and here.
On the occasion of the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, held in Geneva from 9th until 12th December, an excellent and beautifully illustrated 29-page Humanitarian Trail in Geneva has been developed. The trail is like
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva is presenting a selection from its rich collection of posters an open-space museum featuring walking routes to landmarks that are rich in history. One trail, The Humanitarian Legacy, covers 14 landmarks in the old town, on the left bank of the lake. A second trail, The Humanitarian Journey, covers 5 landmarks in the international quarter of the city, on the right bank of the lake. The trail was offered from 4th until 12th December when, along the way, videos could be watched at various stops, and an interactive digital map was accessible via mobile and tablet to use as a complement to, or instead of, the brochure. The latter is likely to remain available from the tourist office and other institutions in the city. You can download the program here, and find further information (as well as a map) on the Conference website at this link.
The Scottish-American steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), was once the richest man in the world. Today, he is regarded as the father of modern philanthropy (who has inspired Bill Gates). As a peace philanthropist, he remains without peer. The son of a weaver, he was born in a small
cottage in Dunfermline (a town north of Edinburgh). The prospect of a better life brought the family to Pennsylvania in 1848. Carnegie became a very successful entrepreneur; in 1901 he sold Carnegie Steel, the largest steel company in the world, for $ 480 million (over $ 14 billion today) and became the world’s richest man. Famously saying, ‘The man who dies rich, dies disgraced’, he spent the rest of his life-giving away 90% of his fortune. A considerable part he used for promoting world peace. Already as a youth, Andrew Carnegie regarded himself as a pacifist and internationalist. In the years before 1914, he endowed four trusts or foundations and financed the building of three ‘temples of peace’, including the Peace Palace in The Hague. They were a tangible expression of his firm belief in arbitration and international law as the best means to abolish war, which he called ‘the foulest blot upon our civilization’.
The original birthplace cottage where Andrew Carnegie was born (and where the family lived in one small room) was built in the 1770s and has been restored to look as it would have done during his childhood in the 1840s.
Opened to the public in 1908, it tells the family’s story prior to their emigration to the US. A fuller story, with many precious and original artefacts, is told in the adjoining Memorial Hall. Its construction was suggested after Carnegie’s death in 1919 by Louise Carnegie, his widow; she endowed
Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland
the Hall which was inaugurated in 1928. It charts the meteoric business career of her husband and documents his stupendous philanthropy. The latter includes the financing of museums, concert halls, universities, and 2,800 public libraries (the first of which was opened in his native town in 1883). Many of the displays and artefacts in the Hall reflect his hatred of war, and passion for peace, making this a peace museum in all but name.
For more information, click here; a virtual visit to the museum can be seen here. Also go here. Several interesting articles about Carnegie and the Peace Palace are in the Winter 2019 issue of the Carnegie Reporter, published by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The issue can be freely downloaded at this link.
For earlier articles about Andrew Carnegie and the centenary celebrations of the Peace Palace, and INMP’s contributions, see INMP Newsletter No. 5, May 2013, pp. 1, 3-4 & No. 6, November 2013, pp. 4-5.
Waxwork of Andrew Carnegie on display in the Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland
A new exhibition, Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words, was opened in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on 5th
December. It will be shown until August 2020. The African American woman is best known for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in December 1955. Her arrest and brief imprisonment sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted for 381 days and ended with a ruling by the US Supreme Court in her favor. Contrary to popular belief, her defiant but calm demeanor when she refused to follow the bus driver’s instructions hid a militant spirit that had been forged over decades. She had been involved in the struggle for social justice and human rights since the 1930s. The exhibition shows rarely seen letters, documents, and photographs that offer an intimate portrait of Rosa Parks from her early life and activism until her later years when she had become the much-admired mother of the modern civil rights movement. A 7-minute video of an interview with Adrienne Cannon, the exhibition’s curator, and Carla D. Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, can be seen here.
New Exhibition at the Library of Congress
The display materials are largely drawn from the Rosa Parks Collection in the Library of Congress. The Collection covers 140 years of family history and comprises ca. 10,000 items. For more information about the Collection, go here. Many exhibition items can be seen at this link. Follow this link for an extensive list of resources. For an article about the exhibition, click here.