The Empathy Museum: a mile in my shoes
Travel allows us to open ourselves to the world, to learn about other cultures and peoples but there is a feeling that, more than others, allows us to enjoy new places and people: empathy.
What is empathy? It is the ability to understand fully the state of mind of others whether it be joy or sorrow. It means truly understand the history of a place or a person. In this busy world, and where relationships are lived through new technologies, where everyone knows everything and is just as easy to make rash judgments, are very few the moments where we can really listen and know about other person’s. Empathy, in fact, also means listen to a person,know something about her, and understand her emotions. In London, on the bank of the River Thames opposite the Tate Britain, there is a art installation that looks like a shoe box: it is the Museum of the Empathy where visitors can get in the shoes of an outsider.
The idea of opening this museum came to Roman Krznaric, professor of Cambridge, who was inspired by a sentence of Harper Lee in “To Kill a Mockingbird”: “You can not really understand another person until you consider things from his point of view, until it enters into his skin and walk inside there”. In fact, in the museum, you wear shoes belonging to refugees and bankers and, along with these, is given an audio guide that tells the story of those who have worn those shoes.
The purpose of the museum in fact is find similarities between the life of the visitors and the stories of the shoes’s owners therefore break down barriers, prejudices and stereotypes. After the first leg in London the museum will start a tour around the world.