NEMO’s European Project Slam of Courageous Museum Projects offers the stage and word to museums that have been courageous enough to take a stand and dared to position themselves in society. Just as with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, it is important to put commitment into action if you want to change – even just a little bit in the world. We are thrilled to welcome the four slammers below to inspire us on 9 November 2019.
In 2015 the museum noticed a growing fear, born out of prejudice, amongst the local community as a result of the sudden influx of migrants and refugees in the area. National Liberation Museum Maribor saw it as its duty as a museum to serve as informer and treasury of evidence of what can happen when individuals are deprived of their rights and freedom, and become the target of hate speech, persecution and violence. Aleksandra Berberih-Slana and her colleagues have therefore responded actively to the challenge of a new social reality with various programmes such as Museum for Peace, Fences in our heads, the Maribor Mosaic exhibition as well as new museum collections related to migrants and refugees.
By deciding to take a clear stand against violence in the spring 2019 and host an exhibition about hate crimes, the Regional Museum of Skåne made people realise that the cultural history museum indeed can be an arena for heavy topics and reflection. In connection to the exhibition the museum staff decided to address the issue of violence in different ways. They introduced the exhibition by having the police give a lecture about hate crimes, which filled up the auditorium twice. Shortly afterwards a documentary about a famous Swedish singer was broadcasted on TV, showing that she for years lived together with a man who abused her. This sparked a general discussion about domestic violence, which the museum reacted to and a week later arranged a lecture with music and information about domestic violence together with some local organisations. The theme continued with self defence courses, lecture from a trans person, a lawyer and some other activities. The museum proved itself to be agile and able to pick up on current topics that interested and moved both the audience and the staff.
The pilot programme Accessible Museum, which aims to make museums more accessible for underprivileged people, is being implemented in Northern Hungary and the Northern Great Plain regions - respectively the 9th and 10th poorest regions of the European Union. The project is carried out in partnership with 35 local museums and 40 public schools and with the participation of 6000 underprivileged children – often of Roma heritage. The student groups participating in the pilot programme take part in specially developed museum education sessions that are well integrated into the school curriculum. The programme included the preparation of policy papers for national museum projects, newly developed training courses both for museum educators and teachers, pilot projects, furthermore a methodological handbook for Hungarian museum professionals.
This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the non-violent overthrow of Communism in the Czech Republic. The educational experience program “Generation of Liberty” reflects on the anniversary by informing and reminding today’s generation about the importance of critical thinking, independent artistic-literary expression and creative use of acquired cultural and historical contexts. The aim of the program is to attract attention to the cultural and historical context of the Velvet Revolution in an attractive way to the target group.