Entangling Present and Past

L’incompréhension du présent naît fatalement de l’ignorance du passé. Mais il n’est peut-être pas moins vain de s’épuiser à comprendre le passé si l’on ne sait rien du présent.

[“A misunderstanding of the present inevitably grows out of an ignorance of the past. But it is perhaps no less pointless to try to understand the past if one knows nothing of the present”]

Marc Bloch, Apologie pour l’histoire ou Métier d’historien. Paris: Colin, 1949.

From its foundation in the 1970s to the present, the local Museum in Jarrow has been primarily focussed on reconstructing and showcasing the “Anglo-Saxon” world at the time of Bede the Venerable, a monk still famous worldwide for his numerous surviving writings who spent his life in the twin monasteries of Wearmouth & Jarrow during the 8th century CE. This effort has aimed at highlighting the historical importance of an area that held a primary international role in the industrial period and was dramatically affected by post-industrial changes, crises, and politics. Nowadays, the time of Bede can be understood not as an episodic and lost “golden age”, but as an important step in the complex history of a landscape and of the different people that have inhabited it from the past to the present.

This section explores the development of our Museum and its connections with the wider history of Jarrow and its community. Written sources, Archaeology, and Experiments.