El LUM: Lima’s Memory Museum

The museum dedicated to the memory and victims of the internal conflict is fairly recent, inaugurated in December 2015. Located in  Lima’s coastal and upper class district Miraflores, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. When I asked my family about it no one seemed to have visited, despite it being free, and had only heard about it. When asked if he’d visit, my uncle replied “no,” it was enough to have lived through it why would he want to revisit it. 

During my visit I noticed most of the visitors were young, some tourists, and some Quechua speakers. 

The museum in it self was easily looked over from the outside, due to its concrete structure. On the inside, it proved quite the opposite, modern and colorful. Showcasing not just a chronology of violence but also incorporating art as a form of coming to terms with the memory of the violence. 

The most captivating aspect in my opinion was found on the first floor, and dealt with several testimonies of victims from different regions of the country. This space held about ten screens, hanging from the ceiling, each displaying an individual. Visitors could sit and listen to the audio by putting on headphones. Along the walls were the names of the victims accompanied by hundreds of colorful post-it notes with messages from museum guests. Many of these read “End the Violence,” “Unity,” and thank you notes for those sharing their testimony. 

The museum is well constructed and offers an attempt at national mourning and reconciliation. However, as with its outer presentation, it has not been able to reach or perhaps arouse enough interest from Lima’s inhabitants. 

My reason for visiting the LUM goes a bit beyond visiting the museum, and take us to the growing digital archive. Speaking to the museum archivist I was able to learn how to navigate the expansive archives and collections the LUM continues to receive and digitalize. From film and music to printed media, the LUM website can be very helpful for anyone studying the period.

For more information on the LUM, its cultural agenda, and archive visit: http://lum.cultura.pe/el-lum/historia

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