The Slovenia Times

Museums to mark their day in virtual realm


As the pandemic broke out, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) urged its members to find alternative ways of marking the day, so the Slovenian section decided to go virtual.

But in the meantime, Slovenian museums and galleries were allowed to reopen, "so we'll also offer alternative events in museums, taking into account all the necessary restrictions and each museum's capabilities," Kaja Širok, head of the Slovenian section, has told the STA.

While regretting that many events will only take pace online, Širok is happy that this shift will result in "all Slovenian museums - state museums and other certified museums - to get promoted in an equal manner, which is a major asset".

In previous years, only state museums were presented in an open-air exhibition in Metelkova Street, while there are also over 40 other certified museums in the country, she explained.

Širok believes the coronavirus crisis has exposed both the strengths and shortcomings of museums. Staying at home and having to go digital made museum workers truly realise what type of online content is actually useful.

It made us realise "that everything does not have to be posted online and that we shouldn's post articles which are of interest to only a handful of people".

"Instead, we started posting content for larger groups, for instance for school children, especially because with home schooling, schools had asked for help.

"The good side of this is that together with schools, we are thinking about what other content schools would need in the future and how to do it together."

Širok nevertheless hopes museums will soon be able to get back to normal, to be able to again offer multi-sensory experience, which has gained ground in recent years.

She believes the pandemic will not make museums take a step back, but has definitely encouraged a trend of looking for new ways of presenting content and enhancing museum content accessibility.

The topic of this year's International Museum Day is Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion. Širok explained that each year's theme is very broad to enable various museums to contribute.

The National Museum of Contemporary History, which she heads, intends "to draw attention to the diversity of collective memories which identify us as a community or nation".

It will also present a new four-year project about identities which brings together seven European museums, also from Croatia, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

The Slovenian museum will feature stories related to migrations in the period of former Yugoslavia, chiefly immigration from the other Yugoslav republics to Slovenia.

"We'll bring stories about immigrants who have lived in Slovenia for several generations and have several identities, and the stories which make up these identities."

ICOM has observed International Museum Day ever since 1977 to raise awareness about the fact that museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.


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