How Can Museums Promote Peace?

From the attacks in Paris and Beirut, to the Syrian refugee crisis, to other horrific acts of violence and hatred across the globe, I have been at a loss for how to work for peace as a museum professional. 

I have been greatly encouraged by the work of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), an institution that is truly living out the adage "Think Globally, Act Locally". On November 9, 2016, the MMFA will open the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, a space with four levels of International Art galleries and two levels dedicated to education, community programs, well-being and even art therapy.

This increased emphasis on education and well-being is in line with the MMFA's mission of building bridges in the community. According to Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA:

“It is a strong message of peace, consistent with the image of the city itself, which has given refuge to so many people from around the world, and also of peace for the soul that the Museum wishes to bring to its hundreds and thousands of visitors, including children, families, people in pain and isolated…” 

The MMFA already has partnerships with over 400 community organizations that work with senior citizens, at-risk youth, low-income families, people with mental-health challenges or physical or intellectual disabilities, preschoolers, etc. The Museum "hosts projects to combat violence and social exclusion", including work with groups like Dans la rue, the Old Brewery Mission, and the Breakfast Club of Canada.

What do you think of the idea of education and outreach being roads to peace?