Jewish Cultural Heritage - achievements and challenges of the first year of the project
Over a year ago, on 2 March 2020, POLIN Museum together with partners – the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, the European Wergeland Centre, the Falstad Centre, the Jewish Museums in Oslo and in Trondheim, as well as the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute—launched a long-term “Jewish Cultural Heritage” project realised thanks to the EEA Grants and the state budget.
Over the past 13 months we have succeeded in reaching out to our audience, mainly through the Internet. We have organized almost 1,500 events for over half a million people. Our web portals have noted over 1.6 million page views.
About two weeks after POLIN Museum had been closed to the public due to the pandemic, we launched online educational workshops for schools. We conducted 828 zoom classes for 16,600 pupils from all across Poland (65% were groups from outside of Warsaw), including small towns. We continue to reach out to new groups: 43% of the teachers surveyed had never used any museum educational offer for schools. Many emphasise that "it would be worthwhile to run [online workshops] also after the pandemic is over. They make it possible to participate in classes for young people who, because of the distance from Warsaw and the costs of travel involved, do not attend such events." As many as 96% of teachers are satisfied with their participation in the POLIN online classes.
We have also transferred teacher development programs to the Internet, including organising an international conference titled “Emotions and history. How to talk about difficult topics at school” in collaboration with the Falstad Centre. The conference was attended by 743 people from Poland, Norway, the USA and other countries. Teachers hope we will continue with the online programs: "I hope that in the future you will not give up the online format, because I live far away from Warsaw and cannot take advantage of your offer otherwise." 88% of teachers participating in the POLIN programs claim to have broadened their knowledge of the history and culture of Polish Jews.
Transferring activities addressed to people with disabilities into the virtual world was a great challenge during the pandemic. We have successfully introduced a pioneering offer for this group, facilitating access to the museum's exhibitions and events for nearly 16,000 people, both off- and online. As the first cultural institution in Poland, we developed an offer of concerts addressed to families with children with special sensory needs. We have organised 43 events dedicated to groups with all sorts of disabilities, sensory walks around Muranów as well as “The Morning Birds”, an event for children on the autism spectrum. We wish to provide access to our Museum to everyone. Thanks to the “Jewish Cultural Heritage” project, we purchased special chairs for people with mobility impairment, we installed induction loops and a new signage system.
We have also developed a rich educational offer for teenagers (photography and mural workshops, the Theatre Forum), seniors, local community leaders, and minority groups. We have successfully created a virtual kingdom of fun and games for children—the International Children's Day, Hanukkah and Purim attracted over 65,000 people to the screens. Programs for adults enjoy unflagging popularity: the Jewish ABC meetings with Judaism, online walks, lectures, discussions, literary events, the “Leśmian Meadow” project as well as Jewish cuisine courses.
92,527 people from all over Poland joined our annual Daffodils social-educational campaign aimed to commemorate the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Hashtags #RememberingTogether and #DaffodilsCampaign were used 1.5 million times, and our posts on social media boasted a total of 147,287 likes.
In December, we handed in the POLIN Award addressed to individuals and organisations actively involved in the preservation of the memory of the history of Polish Jews. The Award gala was held online which allowed us to take our audience on a tour of six towns where our nominees carry out their daily activities.
You will find short descriptions of the selected events held in the first months of 2021 below.
"The Digitalisation of Memory: Technology – Possibilities – Boundaries" – Polish-Norwegian educational seminar
In February, in partnership with the Falstad Centre, we organised a three-day educational seminar devoted to the possibilities and limitations of using digital media and tools in museums and in institutions whose aim is to preserve memory. The seminar provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practices by experts, activists and museologists who deal with social memory, intercultural education and the use of new technologies in cultural institutions.
The workshop part was actively participated by 29 employees of museums, cultural institutions and human rights centres from Poland and Norway. Open seminar sessions streamed on the POLIN Educational Center YouTube and Facebook channels were followed by 1,743 people.
"Practical recommendations and good practices in the field of conservation" can now be downloaded!
In March, we shared online the highly interesting Practical recommendations and good practices in the field of conservation. The publication is addressed to museum professionals and aims to facilitate the care of collections in terms of conservation and storage in accordance with the best standards and practices.
Download "Practical recommendations and good practices in the field of conservation in the institutions of culture" >>
"Museum in a Box" will find its way to 100 schools in Poland
"Museum in a Box" is a modern educational tool which we will send to 100 schools across Poland. The attractive set includes a narrative game titled “Malka’s Town” together with a map, archival photographs and 3D printed replicas of objects from our collection. Thanks to these materials, teachers will conduct an interesting lesson and children will learn about Jewish culture and tradition through play. Moreover, we will offer 500 workshops run by our educators to all schools enrolled in the project.