A Comparative Study of the Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Santiago, Chile)

Primary author: Vilma Navarro-Daniels
Co-author(s): Maria Serenella Previto

Primary college/unit: Arts and Sciences
Campus: Pullman


The Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance houses a huge collection of documents, pictures, videos, and artifacts related to the resistance against Trujillo. It is visited by hundreds of Dominicans from all over the country as well as schoolers and their teachers. Dominicans do not doubt about the dictatorial nature of Trujillo’s rule (1930-1961). Although in Chile there is a Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Chilean people do not share a common memory about the Pinochet Era (1973-1990). My research focuses on the role and impact that the aforementioned museums and the way they were implemented, promoted, advertised, and interpreted from hegemonic centers of political power may have had on nowadays Chilean historical denial of the political genocide that took place under Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in opposition to the well consolidated and shared memory about the atrocities committed during the Trujillo Era that can be observed in Dominican Republic. Thus, my research studies and analyzes these museums in connection to the politics of memory or – conversely— oblivion, the latter also named Historical Alzheimer, and makes progress in the theoretical understanding of museums as components of urban spaces, which are protected and managed in order to achieve very precise goals: Museums are texts, meaning they are narrations that shape nations (Homi Bhabha) and, by doing so, they create a “usable past” (Henry Steele Commager), which, in turn, will form and set up future citizens as either anchored in a shared past or, on the contrary, detached from their own history.