Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage explores how the everyday experiences of children, and their imaginative and creative worlds, are collected, interpreted and displayed in museums and on monuments, and represented through objects and cultural lore. Young people constitute up to half the population of any given society, but their lives are inescapably influenced by the expectations and decisions of adults. As a result, children’s distinct experiences are frequently subsumed within the broader histories and heritage of their families and communities. And while adults inevitably play a prominent role in children’s lives, children are also active creators of their own cultures. As this volume so vividly demonstrate, the cultural heritage of children is rich and varied, and highly revealing of past and present attitudes to children and their work, play, creativity, and human rights.
The essays in this book span the experiences of children from classical Rome to the present moment, and examine the diverse social and historical contexts underlying the public representations of childhood in Britain, Europe, North America, Australia, North Africa and Japan. Case studies examine the heritage of schools and domestic spaces; the objects and games of play; the commemoration of child Holocaust survivors; memorials to Indigenous child-removal under colonial regimes; children as collectors of objects and as authors of juvenilia; curatorial practices at museums of childhood; and the role of children as visitors to historical sites.
Until now, the cultural heritage of children and the representations of childhood have been largely absent from scholarly discussions of museology, heritage places and material culture. This volume rectifies that gap, bringing together international experts in children’s histories and heritage. Aimed at a wide readership of students, academics, and museum and heritage professionals, Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage authoritatively defines the key issues in this exciting new field.