(Re)opening a Museum: Some Dos and Don'ts - A UNESCO workshop in Kabul


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Focusing on the rich cultural heritage of the Ghazni region, UNESCO organized a one week capacity building workshop for museum professionals in August 2010. It is to be crowned by an exhibition about Ghazni at the National Museum of Afghanistan, later this month.

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(Re)opening a Museum: Some Dos and Don'ts - A UNESCO workshop in Kabul

  1. 1. PROGRAMME “(RE)OPENING A MUSEUM: SOME DOs AND DON’Ts” WORKSHOP 5-10 August 2010 Kabul, Afghanistan
  2. 2. DESCRIPTION OF THE WORKSHOP, ITS MAIL GOAL Museums are strong players in promoting a town, a province, or even a macro-region or a country. While local marketing can not and should not rely only on local cultural heritage and on its institutions, local museums can definitely strengthen an effective strategy. Opening a new museum, however – or reopening an existing one after a longer period of time – presents its own challenges. There definitely are some things one should do – and others one should avoid – in order to improve quality. Quality surely has many varying components, but this doesn't make excellence an abstract term: it can be measured, improved, and fostered by best practices, communication and documentation. Next to risk analysis (for collections, for the site that hosts them, for the people involved as actors in management and promotion, as visitors, or as other stakeholders), next to preventive conservation issues, we should also focus on the questions: what, who, where, when, why... and how. Going through these questions will lead us to better understanding the role of planning our actions, and of interaction and participation. In opening a new museum, or organizing to let people visit a new site, these issues will be of strategic relevance, and contribute in letting us successfully reach our intended goals. .
  3. 3. THURSDAY, 5 AUGUST 09:30-09:40 Registration of the participants at the National Museum of Afghanistan Session I Opening Ceremony Welcome speeches by: Mr. Brendan Cassar, UNESCO office in Kabul 09:40-10:00 Dr. Omara Khan Massudi, General Director, National Museums of Afghanistan Dr. Alessandro Califano, Senior Curator, CRDAV Session II Introduction 10:00-10:15 Introduction of the participants Introduction to objectives of the training: description of issues at stake (who, 10:15-10:45 what, where, when, why… and how!) 10:45-11:00 Coffee break A provocative question: "Why do we open a museum?" – brain storming and 11:00-12:00 discussion FRIDAY, 6 AUGUST Excursion Babur’s Garden 09:30-11:30 Visit to Babur’s Garden, its museum and its exhibition hall SATURDAY, 7 AUGUST Session III The National Museum of Afghanistan – An Overview "What is new? What has changed? What are the tomorrow’s plans?” – a guided 09:30-12:00 tour of the museum’s departments and exhibition rooms 12:00-13:00 Lunch Session IV Risk Assessment 13:00-13:30 “Environment and equipment” – a risk assessment tool (handout) “What and where?” – a risk assessment discussion (Echoes from the excursion 13:30-15:00 & the NMA guided tour)
  4. 4. SUNDAY, 8 AUGUST Session V Risk Assessment – A Case Study “What and where?” – a risk assessment discussion (The Ghazni Context: maps 09:30-11:00 and sites) 11:00-12:00 “When?” Specific issues concerning the Ghazni Museum – facts and discussion 12:00-13:00 Lunch Session VII People and Story-telling 13:00-14:30 The Fifth Question: “Who?” – public, stakeholders, actors 14:30-15:00 “Who”, an answer to the question: “Why?” – different publics, different stories MONDAY, 9 AUGUST Session VIII How-to 09:30-10:30 Documentation – an artefact’s life-cycle 10:30-12:00 “To touch or not to touch?” – physical interaction with artefacts 12:00-13:00 Lunch Session IX How-to (continued) 13:00-14:30 Artefacts’s materials and connected risks 14:30-15:00 Questions and discussion TUESDAY, 10 AUGUST Session X “Wrapping it up” 09:30-11:00 “5W + H” : Lessons learned Session XI Closing Ceremony 11:00-12:00 Closing ceremony, with UNESCO’s and other official representatives