Academy of Craft - preserving craft knowledge through education
A cross-border network and programme between Slovenia and Hungary that aimed to preserve craft knowledge through public education.
Museums in Slovenia and Hungary collaborated in two projects, Academy of Craft and Academy of Craft 2, initiated by the Government Office of the Republic of Slovenia for the Development of European Cohesion Policy to share knowledge of certain crafts that might otherwise be lost over time. In each project, 10 to 11 museums in Slovenia and Hungary participated, among them the Open-Air Folk Museum of Szombathely in Hungary.
The museum depicts how people have lived over the last two and a half centuries in the villages of Vas County, an administrative region of Hungary. Visitors can find out about the peasant world of the past and
the multi-ethnic border region’s colourful ethnographic and natural heritage, not just through the museum’s
permanent exhibitions, but also – thanks to the project – through live handicraft workshops and related museum lessons. The workshops demonstrate craft professions such as brush-maker, weaver, potter, wheeler, blacksmith and rope-maker. The experience is further enhanced by seasonal fairs and folklore events that provide a more realistic setting.
Knowledge of these crafts was preserved not only through personal training but also by creating educational
films, which could be used in schools or elsewhere. The museums also engaged with specific target groups
and carried out fieldwork, which was documented in order to present and publish it more widely. International
studies on the preservation of the craft traditions were written as part of the initiative.
Eleven museums participated in the second project. In Hungary, the Western Hungarian Open-Air Folk Museum of Szombathely and the Museum of Szentgotthárd became partners in a cross-border informative network.
Additionally, the Martineum Roman Catholic Foundation of Szombathely developed educational materials, and the Zala County Association for Folk Art in Zalaegerszeg organised training programmes and travelling exhibitons.
Article about the project (in Hungarian)
The Academy of Craft is one example that highlights the economic value of museums, you can find it among other examples in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums"!