Private Museums, Local Collections. Research Report

We are pleased to present to you the English translation of “Private Museums, Local Collections. Research Report”, which was co-funded by “Obserwatorium Kultury” funding scheme set up by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and subsidised by the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province.

The main aim of the study was to explore and gain insights of the today’s new cultural trends having to do with numerous private museums being set up in Poland. The research team of the Ari Ari Foundation strived to comprehensively document the phenomenon in terms of three crucial aspects:

- analysis of the process of establishing, organising and operation of private museums,

- characteristics of private museums and various aspects of their work,

- analysis of the reception of private museums at local and regional level, while taking into consideration social, economic, political and cultural background.

The report focuses on people who run their own museums, typically as a one-person business, and who, in spite of the unfavourable legal, economic and social environment, establish mini cultural facilities that are way beyond the typical approach to how a “classic” museum operates.

"In 2012, we arranged meetings with several dozen of people to talk about collecting exhibits and exhibiting practices. Soon we realised people shared their emotions, talked about actions, memories, explorations, doubts and convictions. Some of the conversations were superficial, offhand, cautious, but some were just the opposite – they involved detailed remarks, thoughts and descriptions of the interlocutors’ life. The most puzzling thing about private museums is the fine line between the private and the public. The transition zone that is visible in many places, the cultural buffer area in which the collections are kept are no more exclusively private, and the exhibition area is not fully public. The main research objective was the insight into the work of gatherers and collectors who establish private museums, in which they make their collection public. Private museums remain the place where the private and the public meet and intermingle. They are often poorly or unclearly separated and create a kind of periphery, blend and hybrid where relationships between people are smoothly established. To trigger, to provoke that contact one uses exhibits collected, exhibited and displayed in accordance with strict rules that we tried to explore.” (exc. from “Private Museums, Local Collections. Study Report”)

Full report is available at www.muzeaprywatne.blogspot.com

or http://ariari.org/images/pdf/raport_eng.pdf (PDF)

The media patronage for the report is the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections, Muzealnictwo.com and Herito quarterly.