Museum on Wheels
Museum on wheels is a travelling educational exposition housed in a glazed pavilion on wheels. The pavilion visits towns of up to 50,000 inhabitants and tours the selected culture and youth festivals.
It is the only mobile educational project in Poland to present the history of Polish Jews on such a scale, and to preserve the memory of local Jewish communities by engaging activists and institutional partners who have been involved in the Polish-Jewish dialogue for years. Local organizers of the project (referred to as local coordinators) are selected in a contest in which they propose and realise a 3-day program of educational activities accompanying the exhibition in a given town.
The project was initiated with the inhabitants of small towns for whom a trip to Warsaw is a very expensive and time-consuming expedition in mind. Thanks to the Museum on Wheels, people began to perceive the remote POLIN Museum as an open and accessible place, as a museum that “reaches out to people.”
Through its modern form, the Museum on Wheels exposition allows its visitors to “experience history”: the three-dimensional model of a shtetl acquaints them with the typical places in each small Jewish town; excerpts from interviews with young Polish Jews encourage people to seek answers to questions such as “Who is a Jew?”, “What does it mean to be Jewish today?”; the timeline helps the visitors put all the vital events in the history of Polish Jews in chronological order; and, finally, thanks to the quotations from prewar diaries, the visitors learn of the three languages once used by Polish Jews: Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew. A workshop table is addressed to the youngest visitors—the children can touch the authentic Judaica items, and to write their names in the Hebrew alphabet. Thanks to the permanent assistance of educators travelling with the Museum on Wheels, the visitors can acquire information on Jewish culture and on Polish-Jewish relations.
The interactive map is at the core of the mobile exhibition. It is prepared specially for each visited location. The map contains over a dozen points of reference related to Jewish history, including institutions of social and religious life, artisan workshops, manufactures, as well as sites of martyrdom and their postwar commemoration. Thanks to the map, the young visitors can get acquainted with the history of their towns, and the older visitors can share their memories of their Jewish neighbours. The accompanying events serve to deepen the process of discovering the history of one’s own hometown – i.e. walks, urban games or bike trips in the footsteps of the local Jewish heritage.
Since 2014, the Museum on Wheels visited 89 towns all over Poland.
Would you like the Museum on Wheels to visit your hometown? Write to us at [email protected]
Museum on Wheels is made possible thanks to support of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and the KORET Foundation.