Community cultural institutions
The activity implemented in the way of community education and culture, enabling the participation of local residents, conveying, organising, developing and improving culture, is fully open to integrating the processes of socialisation: in community development and other processes aimed at developing communities, as well as in extracurricular learning opportunities and organised events.
One good example: local value repository committee
Possible ways of socialisation are presented in relation to the group of activities stipulated on the Culture Act as “exploration and presentation of its traditions, nurturing and enriching local cultural and educational customs”, for the establishment and operation of what is called the local value repository committee.
In relation to the various examples and instruments the following aspects should be taken into consideration and possibly applied:
- Residents are informed, via the institution’s news channels, about the collection of values and the existence of the act (Act XXX of 2012 on Hungarian National Values and Hungaricums), along with delivering posters, fliers and information publications to local citizens.
- Roundtable discussions and other forums are organised where, after providing information on the undertaking, ideas and proposals are invited from those to be involved, concerning the collection and presentation of values. Further meetings are generated by the mutual exchange of information, along with promotional events as the case may be, which are to be linked to the existing ones. If there are tradition preserving groups (embroidery, wood carving, folk dance groups) in the town or village, they can be asked to inform their members and helpers during, or in relation to, their established programmes, about the new undertaking. It must be noted however, that the list of local values is – though local folk traditions form a key element – not limited to folk art and folk traditions, it may include new customs, new buildings or communities that do not date back to more than a decade or two but have become important for the village or town.
- Interviews: Seek for people with ample local knowledge and extensive relationship capital and involve them in the exploration work. A small community or group engaged in preserving traditions and/or dealing with local history, is a great opportunity. They should be invited to help promote your work and connect the promotion of the local values to their events. (E.g.: the programme of the tradition preserving community should be supplemented with a small exhibition – of photos, garments, etc., whatever can be associated with the subject). Draw on each other’s work, plan and implement the programme on the basis of coordination and joint decisions. Everything is still your responsibility but those to be involved must be provided with feedback on implementation based on joint decisions. (Community evening on Christmas eve: performances by local organisations, but one of them suggested that the event should be closed with a Dutch party. The event takes place and then feedback is given on the Dutch party.)
- Propose that there be a Local Value Repository Committee at the institution. Individuals and organisations work to explore values through joint consultations and assessment clubs. Everyone can contribute the most in their own specific fields of expertise. The committee provides technical/professional assistance for collection, processing and maintenance. Some organisation or small community may undertake to tend to and process the proposal sheets. They should be your partners, let them take over this function: they will be responsible for assistance in the preparation of the documents, while decision making and feedback continues to be the Local Value Repository Committee’s responsibility. (Again, there is the regulatory background: the act also stipulates how values should be collected. No organisation without authorisation may accept proposal sheets: only the value repository committee may do so.)
- In joint decision making the tasks of collecting and managing values are transferred to your partners. They involve competent professionals (archaeologist, ethnographer, natural scientist etc.) in their work to meet technical/professional criteria. Representatives of its partners are also to be found among the members of the Local Value Repository Committee: pursuant to Government Decree 114/2013. (IV. 16.) on the Management of Hungarian National Values and Hungaricums the committee must be made up of at least 3 individuals; however, in the case of a body of 6, it may include 1 local governmental representative, 2 entrepreneurs and 3 representatives of civil society organisations.
The following table presents activities of museum institutions in which socialisation is possible and, indeed, clearly necessary, and it is even permitted and enabled by the applicable legal regulations. Museum institutions also have some tasks however, in regard to which the law applies restrictions on the involvement of society, communities or users; although it is presumably not entirely impossible even in these areas either.
One good example: exhibitions
Brief description of the various examples and instruments:
- Jewish Museum, 100 Years – 100 Objects: during the design and construction of the new permanent exhibition the director of the museum regularly invited community members and other interested people to talk about and discuss current matters. Meanwhile, the objects of the exhibition called “100 years – 100 objects” could already be seen in simple printed pictures on the walls. The community could get prepared for a truly unique exhibition and add their own knowledge.
- Reykjavik, National Museum of Iceland: the heritage of a photographer who had taken photos around the country, at formal, official and family events, was taken over by the National Museum. The photos were posted on the wall and anyone recognising one could note the names of the people shown, the venue, the year and the event, on a piece of paper. In this way the museum involved its visitors in one of its most important technical function.
- Museum of Ethnography, Stone on Stone: in a comprehensive exhibition showing the life of the Jewry of rural Hungary, Budapest secondary school students put on display objects from their families, with detailed explanations. The organisers of the exhibitors also added their own “package” to their objects: not necessarily linked to their families but rather fragments of what they were interested or emotionally affected by. In this way, with this room of confessions, not only did the museum and the students create an exhibition of a culture long gone by, but provided visitors, with stories – of more than four hundred thousand people, dragged away for extermination – which they could, knowingly or not, take home as their own. The questions and concepts seen on the walls were also written there by students, many of whom worked as exhibition guides until the closing of the exhibition. Thanks to their special perspective their contemporaries could much more closely identify with the subject.
- Pictures of Pásztó – exhibition. Pásztó was given back its status of a town in 1984. To celebrate this, the museum of Pásztó organised a community exhibition in 2014, showing photos of moments from the last 30 years of the town. It may be regarded as a community exhibition because the material put on display was collected and sorted by a more than 1500 strong Facebook group called Our memories of Pásztó. It was also a community exhibition because of the large number of people – including people outside the Facebook group – who participated in identifying the people and locations shown in the photos. The work was coordinated by the Museum of Pásztó, where the photos were digitised. A basic function of the museum was carried out in the context of the programme with a limited budget through the involvement of the institution and its audience, showing cultural values at an exhibition. This kind of programme is not sensitive to the type of the community, the maintainer of the institution, the size or type of the coordinating institution: it can be implemented by museums as well as any other cultural public institution alike.
One good example: adequate accessibility of a library, flexible opening hours and services accessible for people with disabilities as well.
Brief description of the various examples and instruments:
- Moving events to sites: a number of libraries have organised so-called local or on-site library events in Hungary, in order to come closer to their potential patrons, such as the beach libraries in Balatonfüred and Keszthely; Bródy Sándor library of the town of Eger has been operating a plaza library on the first floor of Agria Park, which is open on every weekend, even on Sundays, between 10:00 and 16:00.
- Adaptation to local market days: local markets are highly important events in small towns and villages, attracting large numbers of shoppers. Where there is a library near the market, it is worth aligning its opening hours to the market. Many people like to combine their chores so they will be more likely to drop in at the library too during the same time window.
- Showing how to use the library, with the help of sign language interpreter: The Budapest Szabó Ervin Library has posted a video with sign language interpretation on its website to provide information for its deaf patrons.
- Audio library use rules: Katona József Library of Kecskemét has created a service for its blind and visually impaired users. The video discusses current library use information.
Placement of functional hot links to partner organisations on the institution’s website: Katona József Library of Kecskemét posts a link to the Lapról Hangra (from page to sound) portal from its page operated in order to provide equal opportunities. The portal is operated by the “IT for the visually impaired” Foundation.
This article based on the following document: