NEMO Training on building strong relationships with the local community

From 23-25 May 2024, 10 persons connected to NEMO member organisations travelled to Sibiu in Romania to join a 3-day workshop. The ASTRA Open-Air Museum shared insight into their work with engaging vulnerable communities from rural and urban areas in cultural educational programmes.

In addition to new learnings, input and study visits, the participants also benefitted from networking and exchange opportunities across borders. At this NEMO Training, participants joined from Estonia, Greece, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Lithuania, Romania, Hungary and North Macedonia.

On the first day of the training, the focus was set on getting to know the 96 hectares museum site and understanding the work of the ASTRA museum. Co-director Mirela Iancu and Ioana Dan, Head of Marketing & Education, explained the special features of traditional crafts such as pottery and weaving throughout Romania, and especially in the Transylvanian region. They explained how they have been building trust between the museum and the surrounding village communities with their craftspeople for years. The museum greatly appreciates and values the work of these craftspeople who are essential for the daily work of the museum. The presentations were followed by lively exchange since the group of NEMO members asked many questions.

On the second day, the participants got to know the impressive, recently opened House of Arts in the city centre of Sibiu, a long-term renovation project of the ASTRA Museum. The building is considered the oldest ‘guild house’ of Transylvania, also known as the Hall of Butchers and dates back to the 14th century. The House of Arts is ASTRA Museum’s newest cultural business model, a creative hub where past, present and future crafts will enliven this restored historical monument. 

In the afternoon, participants were offered a guided tour in the Brukenthal National Museum, established in the late 18th century by Samuel von Brukenthal (1721-1803) in his city palace.

Day 3 gave the participants the opportunity to visit one of the places in the rural area with which that Astra Museum works closely. During the study trip the participants experienced the cultural landscape and cultural educational program in the village of Arpașu de Jos. The also got to meet Astra’s Director General Ciprian Stefan who joined the trip.

NEMO returns to the ASTRA Museum for its annual conference

From 10-12 November 2024, the NEMO European Museum Conference “Can we talk? Museums facing polarisation” will take place in Sibiu, Romania. Save the date to be part of exploring the power museums have to face polarisation and the vital role museums (can) play in today’s challenged democracies. Registration will open on 18 June. Be part of shaping the conference by submitting a proposal for the programme until 19 June.

NEMO would like to thank the ASTRA Museum for the collaboration on the inspiring workshop and looks forward to returning in November. The ASTRA Museum is a significant ethnographic museum institution in Romania and the largest Open-Air Museum in Europe. Since 2014, the Astra Museum has developed cultural programmes for the urban and rural communities helping them understand, first of all, the meaning of cultural heritage as their legacy. They want the communities to embrace the museum, their own legacy, and to take part in it. ASTRA also promotes the cultural values of each place as an important point for local development through cultural tourism. The most important element of these programmes is sustainability: how can we learn from the past, how can we adapt current solutions to climate change, how can we use resources efficiently?