Seminar with representatives of the March of the Living from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom

A group of visitors from March of the Living United States, Canada and the United Kingdom spent five days in Warsaw (July 4-8, 2016) attending the seminar Pay it Forward: Polin Museum Educational seminar with International March of the Living.

The seminar, organized jointly by POLIN Museum and March of the Living, provided opportunity for 26 members of both institutions to work out a program of visits of MOL groups to the Museum. The focus was on exploring the core exhibition together and planning tours adapted to the needs and capacities of youth and adult groups visiting Poland with March of the Living. The participants also prepared a framework for evaluating MOL’s future visits and discussed their experience of working as educators and guides.

“I will use what I learned not only in working with March of the Living groups but also with groups of young Americans in general,” said a participant from POLIN Museum.

Pay it Forward participants also got to know POLIN’s temporary exhibitions program, Resource Center and educational programs. They took part in a guided tour of Muranów and a visit to JCC Warsaw.

„The Museum has so much to offer to our students in a very different way from what I had initially expected. I am excited to bring my students!” (IMOL participanst)

One of the evenings was reserved for a panel discussion on the mission and changing program of March of the Living visits to Poland. The open panel discussion, with representatives of POLIN Museum, Taube Foundation and March of the Living taking part, was attended by seminar participants, JCC staff, students of the University of Warsaw and representatives of the Ulma Family Museum in Markowa. The evening’s special guest was Zygmunt Rolat, Distinguished Benefactor of POLIN Museum, for many years associated with the March of the Living and working to change the role and significance of Poland in the MOL program. Blind Love, a documentary about blind people and their guide dogs taking part in the March of the Living, was also featured on this occasion.  

The leaders of MOL repeatedly emphasized that having gotten to know the museum, they are convinced that it should be one of the main points on the March’s program. Visiting the core exhibition will allow MOL participants to look at Poland as a country where the Jewish community developed and flourished for a thousand years and where this community is reconstituting itself today. Participants also established personal connections, got to know the Museum’s guides and their motivation for working here: „What is the most valuable take-away from this seminar? Get to know your guides! They have a wealth of information and amazing back-stories that we should know about. Personalize the tour!”(IMOL participant)

Everyone who took part in the seminar – both from March of the Living and POLIN Museum –underlined that the best thing about the week they spent together was the atmosphere of openness and the possibility of exchanging views freely. The participants also agreed that personal contacts and being able to get to know the expectations and resources of the other institution will lead to even better cooperation in the coming years. The seminar is a start to long-term cooperation and building a lasting partnership.

“Congratulations to all of you for the outstanding and super important  program we had  together. It has been a great example of the value  of working together, sharing and  inventing new and different paths  to achieve our goals!” (Aharon Tamir, seminar participant, IMOL Deputy Chairman & General Director, Poland & Israel Projects)

Supported by International March of the Living