Brukenthal National Museum

Dana Hrib

Head of the PR, Education and Marketing Department

Brukenthal National Museum

Piata Mare Nr. 4-5, 550163, Sibiu

www.brukenthalmuseum.ro

Sibiu, Romania
European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2010 - Education, Training and Awareness-Raising


"Discovering the Museum":
A Museum-pedagogy Programme before and after


The Brukenthal National Museum of Sibiu, Romania, was opened to the public in 1817, being the first museum on the today's Romanian territories. The Museum was named after its founder - Baron Samuel von Brukenthal (1721 - 1803), who built an impressive Baroque palace in Sibiu, in which location the Museum established its beginnings.

 Initially presenting von Brukenthal's collection of European Painting in one single building, today the Museum shelters a large diversity of valuable collections in 9 buildings.
The Brukenthal National Museum comprises the Brukenthal Palace (European Art Galleries), the Romanian Art Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Brukenthal Library, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Pharmacy, the Museum of Hunting, the Museum of History and the Restoration Laboratories.

During the period between 2006 and 2008, the Museum was subjected to a spectacular transformation, all the buildings in its administration being renovated while about 85% of the exhibitions were reconsidered.
Before 2006 Museum''s education activities were random. Because of the renovation process, paralleled by the events of Sibiu European Capital of Culture in 2007, an articulate educational programme was possible to be run only starting with school year 2008/2009

The education rooms in the Museum were opened in 2007 at the Museum of Natural History and in 2008 at the Brukenthal Palace (Art Galleries) and the Museum of History.  
The "Discovering the Museum" programme was launched at the beginning of school year 2008/2009.

Brukenthal National Museum applied for Europa Nostra Awards in September 2009, after only one year since started. At the time, there were already set the main patterns concerning the dissemination of information and monitoring the results, while 6 publications for students were already issued.         
                                                                                                                     

Scope of the project: aims and objectives                                                                                                                          

On short term, the Brukenthal National Museum aimed at encouraging students of different groups of age to become familiar with the Museum through recurrence in visiting, to discover it step by step, having the possibility of learning, being creative and enjoying in recreation.      
                                                                                                                                     
On medium term, the Museum is aiming at a new approach to the Sibiu community through the means of creating events dedicated to children and teenagers, involving teachers, parents, media and other institutions.  
                                                          
On long term, the Museum is aiming at serving as a model for other museums in Romania, in order to form through today''s children and students the future museum-oriented public, which at the moment doesn''t exist at the national level. 

Stages of implementation                                                                                                                                                   

The main patterns of the project were set during the school year 2008/2009: activity types, publication concepts, written agreements with schools and other institutions education-related. There were also established rules of participation, means of information, and means of popularizing the results.
The broad educational offer for the school year 2008/2009 was disseminated at all urban or rural levels, being sent to schools and to the County School Inspectorate under the form of printed materials. Starting with the school year 2009/2010, the offer was structured in accordance with the target groups on three categories: primary, secondary and high school. The educational offer it is also posted on the education page of the official website of the Museum http://www.brukenthalmuseum.ro/educatie, the events related to the education activities are announced on news and events page of the website and by Museum's press releases, the exhibitions being posted on the temporary exhibitions page.

Categories of activity                                                                                                                                              

The Museum educational offer includes basic guided tours, thematic guided tours, thematic projects, contests, workshops, exhibitions, documentation trips, guided tours for disable children and their parents, ethnic and ecumenical oriented activities.    

Strategies

The main strategy was to replacing the general museum practice of presenting exhibits and developing activities upon the subject with presenting the specificity of museum as heritage preserving institution, exemplifying on Brukenthal National Museum and emphasizing its particularities. On the other hand, the programme was thought to respond to the needs of institutions involved, organizing training stages for teachers, or accommodating a specific profile as in the case of Art High School and Pedagogy High School in Sibiu.
Through the step by step approach, primary school students learned about that part of the museum which is opened to visitors: what an exhibition is, visitation conduct and ways of exhibits displaying. The secondary school students found out more about the exhibit's background as a collection piece, the storages and conservation procedures, while the high school students explored the restoration field.

Publications                                                                                                                                                                         

Brukenthal National Museum issued six publications for students of different groups of age: guided books to the permanent exhibitions of Brukenthal Palace (1st ed. 2008, 2nd ed 2009, sold in 2000 copies) and to the Museum of Natural History (2009) for secondary and high school students, activity books to the Brukenthal Palace and to the Museum of History (2009) for primary school students and an exhibition catalogue promoting the works of art school students. As far as we know, the Brukenthal National Museum is the first in Romania to publish a guide to a permanent exhibition for students, the first to issue museum-applied activity books for children and the first to publish a catalogue on students'exhibition.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Results

The audience of the project was considerable under the respect of participants, summing 1.587 visits in 2008, 7.341 visits in 2009 and  16.101 visits in 2010.
The records of the visits mentioning the number of participating students, activities, projects and exhibitions, along school, the name of the teacher leading the group and the guiding person are posted on the education web page of the Museum's site. There is also an archive for the 2008 - 2010 records.

Local awareness raising 

From the total of  25.029 visits received during 2008 - 2010, 26% were paid by students from rural localities in Sibiu County, while the coverage in the city of Sibiu was 40,47% of kindergardens, 78,57% of primary and secondary schools and 63,63% of high schools.
The community response to the Museum's youth educational programme equaled the audience in schools; the events and exhibition openings were mediatized through over 150 media releases.

The power of example

The experience accumulated during the short history of "Discovering the Museum" was shared through 6 scientific communications at international symposiums, 5 scientific communications at national symposiums and 4 papers published in scientific journals.   
The Museum Pedagogy - A Successful Programme volume is due to be published as soon as financing sources will be found.   

In 2010, the Museum of Natural History inside the Brukenthal National Museum demonstrated that educational activities could increase significantly the number of visits to the museum, out of the 36.796 visitors 8.560 being the students participating to "Discovering the Museum" program, representing almost a quarter  (23,26%).

The programme also enjoyed until present 20 national partners in education and partners from 10 European countries.