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The Museum Guide Forum Was Held in Manege

The Museum Guide Forum Was Held in Manege

The Forum was held on May 13-16 as part of the major event of the Russian museum calendar – Intermuseum-2016 Festival.  According to Vladimir Aristarkhov, First Deputy Minister of Culture, the audience of the four days of the Intermuseum Festival was twice as much as last year and exceeded 35,000 people. Therefore, the Museum Guide Forum became an important public venue for sharing best museum project technologies, ideas and practices.  

The Forum had two locations: the discussion site in the Manege Green Hall and the Museum Guide Laboratory. The program included 16 discussions and lectures, two role plays, 15 master classes and workshops. The subject of the Forum was the same as the one of the Intermuseum Festival: “Museums without Borders. Social Mission of a Museum in the Inter-Cultural Dialogue.”

Oksana Oracheva, General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation: “We have presented our own understanding of the subject which was shared by our programs participants and winners of museum competitions. This year concept was based on the “next step” idea. Museums know what they want, they have vision, image of the future, and it’s very important to move on in this direction and make next steps.”

Each day of the Forum had an individual headline: “Identity”, “Territory”, “Contact” and “Language”. Discussion themes were chosen on the basis of their urgency and importance for museum community development. For example, the Museum Matrix. Cultural Institutions Looking for Their Identity discussion brought together heads of the museums from Togliatti, Moscow and Vladivostok (moderated by Kseniya Chudinova, External Affairs Director, the Snob project). The Museum in Virtual Space: Entertainment, Communication Platform, Educational Resource discussion addressed issues of establishing virtual representation of museums in the Internet (moderated by Anna Kotomina, Associate Professor of the Social and Cultural Research Department, RSUH). “Why a Museum Needs an Endowment?”discussion touched one of the most pressing issues: sustainable development of museums and its backing by endowment funds. It was moderated by Lyudmila Panteleeva, Head of the Art-Banking Center at Gazprombank - a proficient expert in endowment management.

How to attract teenagers to museums? Shall photography in museum spaces be forbidden or permitted? How to work with local community and organize PR of a museum? Expert description of exhibits, development of web-sites, museum crowd funding were among the subjects of lectures, discussions and master classes.

A new discussion format - “Directors’ Dialogues” - attracted particular interest. Public discussions were based on comparing opinions of heads of well-known Russian museums. Julia Tavrizyan, Director of the Perm Art Gallery and Anna Gor, Director of the Volgo-Vyatsky Branch of the Modern Arts Center (Nizhniy Novgorod) discussed cultural policy, Zelfira Tregulova, General Director of the State Tretyakov Gallery and Marina Loshak, Director of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, talked about renovation of old large museums, Dmitry Back, Director of the State Literature Museum and Peter Mansilya-Kruz, Director of the Bulgakov Museum, debated over literature museums and their future. All discussions were moderated by Vitaly Kurennoy, Head of Laboratory for Cultural Studies of the Humanities Department, Higher School of Economics.

Major projects of the Partnership Program of the Foundation were also presented at the Forum. Zelfira Tregulova, General Director of the State Tretyakov Gallery, presented a unique project of cross-exhibitions by the State Tretyakov Gallery (in London) and the National Portrait Gallery (in Moscow). She particularly emphasized importance of the public and education program of the exhibitions (the public part of the program has been financed by the Foundation under the The Present and the Future in Portraits of the Past project): “This is much more than just exhibitions. For the first time ever it was suggested to organize a discussion on the most interesting subject - cultural leadership. The period of considerable cooling in relations between our countries makes this exchange of brilliant exhibitions a gesture of utmost importance, power and significance,” – noted the Director of the Tretyakov Gallery.

The Master Degree Program in Museum Studies by the Polytechnic Museum and the Higher School of Economics, supported by the Partnership Program of the Foundation, was represented by two events: presentation of methodological materials and a role play on museum strategy, led by Jasper Visser and Erik Schilp - experts from the Netherlands. 

2016 is a cross year Russia-France and therefore the French theme had a clear dominance at the Forum. Philippe Voiry, Cultural Advisor of the Embassy of France in Moscow,  Annabelle Ténèze, Curator of the Regional Museum of Modern Arts  (Rochechouart) and Anne-Claire Laronde, Director of the Museum of Lace and Fashion (Calais) told the audience how modern arts fits into French industrial landscape. Ms. Laronde also participated in the discussion on fashion and textile in the museum context on the second day of the Forum. The most interesting conversation on practices of establishing modern arts collections in Russia and France took place in the Museum Guide Laboratory. The list of participants included Marina Loshak, Director of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Blanch Greenbaum-Salgas, Honorable Chief Curator of Museums and Cultural Heritage of France and Mikhail Mindlin, Director of the State Center of Modern Arts (Moscow).

The Forum exhibition space presented six best implemented projects – winners of the XI competition of the Changing Museum in a Changing World, i.e.: “Inventing Fashion: Biennale on Innovative Textile” (All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Moscow, project head – Ekaterina Rychkova), Personal History (Murom Museum of History and Arts, Murom, Vladimir Region, project head – Anna Gorskaya), Childhood of the Earth (Natural Reserve, Divnogorye Architectural and Arts Museum-Reserve, Voronezh Region, project head – Marina Lylova), Talks about Objects(Yaroslavl State History, Architecture and Arts Museum-Reserve, Yaroslavl, project head – Ekaterina Zmeeva), Renaissance Man(Memorial House of Vasiliy Kamensky, Branch of the Perm Local History Museum, village Troitsa, Perm Region, project head – Sergei Ostrovsky), and Bank of Bright Ideas (Moscow Lights Museum, project head – Natalia Potapova).

The projects were presented by objects and information on project progress, as well as by models-metaphors telling about ideas and plans. Curators and museum specialists gave presentations and held professional discussions at the big round tables.

Two of the exhibited projects won prizes of the Intermuzeum-2016 completion program. The Childhood of the Earth project was awarded a prize in the nomination For the Best Project on Studying Archeological Heritage of the Region.The Talks about Objects project became the winner in the Best Social Communication Projectnomination. So, the Foundation grantees received awards in the half of key nominations of the Festival.

The Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy “Yasnaya Polyana” received an award in the special category established by the Valdimir Potanin Foundation - For the Best Museum Volunteer Project -for its Museum Volunteer Camp project. 

For comprehensive daily reports of the Festival and photos see the forum web-site