Medellin‘s House of Memory is a historical museum dedicated to the more than half a century of violence that has marred Colombia, and in particular to the 8 million victims generated by this political violence.
In spite of its omnipresence, few places in Colombia and Medellin allow both locals and visitors to learn about the conflict, and in particular the humanitarian part of the war that has destroyed millions of families with millions of others unaware.
An initiative created by the town council in 2006 gave way to the construction of an educational space dedicated to victims of the conflict who are gaining significance by the day.
Open to the public since 2013, the museum serves as a symbol of reparation and a space for reflection and dialogue. At its core of the House of Memory lies the ideal:
“You must remember in order not to repeat.”
The museum guides its guests past numerous perspectives of the bloody conflict.
Multiple rooms feature audiovisual, photographic and artistic exhibitions that facilitate public comprehension of the conflict. Some of the works are created by victims, which they use as reconstructions of memory and personal stories.
On the ground floor you can find the museum’s permanent exhibition dedicated to Medellín’s urban conflict, told in chronological order.
Upstairs is a library, archive and touch screen computers all available for public use. The archive is particularly interesting, as it contains personal items donated by victims, along with photos and media documentation of the conflict that are soon to be digitalised and placed on the museum website.
Victor Munoz, one of the museum’s creative directors, told Colombia Reports that their exhibitions aim to demonstrate that conflict resonates not just with its victims, but all of society.
This museum tries to generate processes where the victim is recognised. Not only is the victim recognised as such, but also recognised as a part of society. In this sense we include the rest of the Colombian society in the reflections on the conflict.
Creative director Victor Muñoz
He believes that the aim of the museum should not change with the recent peace deal between the government and the FARC: “Victims have always insisted on constructing peace, independently from the signing of the peace deal. If anything, it strengthens our mission and our way of creating memory.”
The House of Memory museum is unique in that it not only educates those on Colombia’s conflict but also holds documents pertaining to conflicts in many other South and Central American nations.
In 2015 it was awarded the Antonio Nariño Human Rights Award.
Upsetting as it may be, the armed conflict is an incredibly pertinent part of Colombia’s past and present, and will remain to be so in the future. For this reason, the House of Memory is a must for anyone wishing to truly understand it’s impact on the country and its people.