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The First Convention of Museums – Institutional Members of the Association of Polish Museologists

The Malbork Castle Museum hosted the First Convention of Museums – Institutional Members of the Association of Polish Museologists. This was a very important moment for the organisation, but by far the most important and relevant aspect was the opportunity for leading figures of the Polish museum community to meet. The presence of representatives of more than 20 museums was proof of how important for museologists it is to meet regularly and discuss the future of their institutions.

Their stay at the Malbork Castle Museum has resulted in many important observations and initiatives, including the 2nd Museology Congress and the 25th anniversary celebration of the organisation, which is set to take place next year. The meeting also gave a clear answer to the question whether the current museum law requires further amendment. Last but not least, our guests gave very inspiring and thought-provoking speeches, including those by Professor Jan Rydel, Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński and Bogdan Szlachta, who offered a broader perspective on such concepts as multiculturalism, tolerance and the need for public dialogue above divisions.

‘We have prepared a strategy for 2022 through 2026. We want to know where we are headed’, said Dr Michał Niezabitowski, President of the Association of Polish Museologists. ‘Who are we? I think that we want to be an inclusive organisation that fosters the museum community, one that is open and supportive of all museologists and all museums in Poland. We want to be an organisation that acts through its local branches. We want to be an organisation that shapes the public opinion and voices its concerns regarding important museology-related issues in Poland and internationally. We believe our mission should be to include people who, using the generational collections stored in museums, explain the difficult and complex modern world to the audience. I deal with the past, but I work at a museum because I love the present. It always irks me whenever people say that I must love history very much. I don’t know if I love history. Most of all, I love people, and I love modernity. This is how I understand my being a museologist, and how we see ourselves as the Association of Polish Museologists.’

Several speakers emphasised that the association would like to gain international recognition by 2026, and become a body whose opinions matter to politicians and national and local authorities, a leader among Polish museum organisations, an organisation that Polish museologists can look to for support, one that sets the trends in Polish museology. In addition, its members would like to establish a collaborative platform together with other Polish cultural institutions, and convince the public that Polish museologists can act as guides and interpret the past and the difficult paths leading to the present and future.

What goals have been set?

‘We have six goals. The first one relates to research. We initiate and support research. The second one is social. The association is not neutral, we are actively involved in improving society. Three, the association inspires and sets new trends in museum education. The fourth is to be a vanguard organisation protecting the tangible and intangible heritage of Poland, Europe and the entire World. The fifth is to support Polish museums in their governance-related and organisational activities. The sixth is for the association to be managed efficiently and effectively,’ summarised Dr Michał Niezabitowski.

 

The association has many ambitious plans, which were set in motion at the convention. The next opportunity for discussion is not far away, and takes the form of the second edition of the Museums of Tomorrow debate cycle, scheduled for 16 November 2023 and organised by the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów. The main topic of discussion will be the environmental responsibility of museums.

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