Warm-up for the EuroVision Lab. in the National Museum for Contemporary History in Ljubljana: Museum “speed dating” as a way of working with museum experts and non-visitors.

National Museum of Contemporary History in Slovenia decided to take the meaning of the word ‘lab’ strictly serious. For the EuroVision Lab. implementation, they decided to give in to the experimental part and leave a part of the exhibition completely in the hands of their non-visitors, young adults. To make that happen, they invented a system of pre-Lab. activities, EuroVision Lab. implementation and after-Lab. activities.
Pre-Lab. activities are based on working with two different working groups: our museum non-visitors from the activity 7 – 15 young adults on one hand, and 15 museum professionals on the other. Despite the fact, there were many more applicants to both of the workshops, we decided for the limitation of the participants number, since already after 12 people in a group it is really hard to establish a sense of belonging and the feeling of “we” instead of “I”.
In order to prepare an experimental exhibition, which involves participation of the people, who usually do not work in a museum, neither they visit a museum takes a bit unusual approach. Pre-Lab. activities are therefore a parallel workshop system, where young adults and museum experts from 12 museums were meeting with the EMEE partners. First two whole-day gatherings were implemented separately between the groups, for them to get the emphasis on the EMEE inputs of the most relevance to them.
Both groups met in March 2015 for the first time with the introductory EMEE presentation, and EMEE workshop implementation on social arena, bridging the gap and social web in museums. The young were asked to think about the exhibitions and Europe in museums in a way they would find it appealing. Whereas museum experts needed to prepare a selection of two transnational objects from each museum.
In April, the young worked especially on the EMEE scenography workshop, with introduction to the multi-layered objects presentation. Second museum experts gathering was on the other hand much more in the sign of working with the national cultural heritage and how to present it in a transnational way on the base of Workshop 1: One object – Many visions – EuroVisions. In the course of the workshop they worked on their two objects, they proposed and had to decide for the most promising one.
The last meeting in May was the first joined meeting of both groups together for a museum »speed-date« of museum professionals and young adults. We turned the usual roles of object selection for the exhibition around, and let the young being the ones choosing the objects for the exhibition. A one-on-one meeting enabled them to get the chance to talk to museum professionals in a way they never did before and choose their top objects, the museum professionals have prepared in the previous meetings for them. Top five multi-layered and transnational objects, provided by national and local museums, which will for now remain a secret, are therefore a base for the experimental exhibition: EuroVision Lab. under the motto: One Object – Many Visions – EuroVisions.
With the photo-shoot and evaluation, this is where the pre-Lab. activities are done for both of the groups. Further joined work continues only with the young ones, who wish to carry on and really work on the exhibition design, concept, implementation, accompanying programme development…
Nevertheless, all museum experts are still in close contact with the young in order to prepare the exhibition. Despite the end of the Lab. in Slovenia, after-Lab. activities will go on also here. The 13 involving museums will have a chance to host the experimental part of the exhibition, with the possibility of adding their extra objects. In this way EMEE work will be shown beyond the borders of EMEE partners and accessible to the widest public possible.
EuroVision Lab. exhibition will therefore consist of 4 sub-elements: introduction to the EMEE partners through simple information on demand posters; presentation of the 13 involving museums, presented in the same style as the EMEE partners; core exhibition of 5 selected objects and Museum’s exemplary unit; and last but not least, exhibition of results of the young scenographers contest. With additional programme, the Lab. will be opened since July 16th 2015 to October 10th 2015 in Ljubljana. After that, other EMEE Lab.s will start in other partner’s countries.