EuroVision Lab. in Ljubljana: Series of Museum Tea Parties. November 4th, 11th, 17th 2015 in National Museum of Contemporary History, Slovenia

A series of EuroVision Lab. Museum Tea Parties were a public accompanying programme of EuroVision Lab. Ljubljana, consisting of series of three events. The events took place in November 2015 with invited guests from abroad and homeland – Slovenia. The purpose was to create a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere where the visitors could talk about the museum issues, challenges, future. Through EMEE topics, such as Change of Perspective, bridging the gap, Social Arena, multi-layered object presentations, and transnational perspectives in exhibition making we tried to sparkle a dialog and inspire the visitors to think about what the museums need to tackle with nowadays, and to pose them a question: how can museums become a relevant social space on the base of its cultural heritage. All this thinking and talking went on, while sipping a good cup of hot tea. For this purpose, a part of the EuroVision Lab. exhibition, called the Time Capsule, was just perfect.

Partners from Ljubljana also involved our EMEE satellite partners from another European project Dostopnost/ Accessibility, who helped us perform the three very successful events. Museum Tea Parties were well-visited, also due to the invitation being widely shared on online media, faculties’ and other NGO’s webpages and on social media. Therefore, the average visit was twenty people of all ages, however, mostly young adults, and a regular extension to the planned time duration, due to the endless interest in the topics.

First Museum Tea Party was international with our guest speakers from Austria: Karl Stocker, and Erika Thümmel, as well as Slovene guests: Boštjan Botas Kenda, and Kaja Širok. The guest speakers were talking about multi-layered object presentations with some examples of good practices, as well as they tried to answer our main challenge: how to attract the younger generations and museum non-visitors.

Second event has connected and joined the three main museum associations in Slovenia and their representatives: ICOM Slovenia, Slovene Museum Association and Slovene Museum Society. The purpose was to present them to the visitors, as well as to see their views on museum social responsibility and Social Arena making.

For the last tea party we invited the young and very active museum experts, who are facing all of the museum challenges on a daily basis. We were curious about their insights on the museum work, what problems are they facing on their ways towards museums as Social Arenas, how do they approach the non-visitors, where do they see the benefits of the social web, and finally, what kind of connections do they see between the museums and Europe in the future.

It was really nice to host these museum chats, with the main findings: there are many museum people already working under (some of) the EMEE principles and they work; people who attended the Museum Tea Parties were surprised how much effort museums invest into being relevant in the society; we all had fun in the museum, while learning many new things, and last, museum became a social arena for a while.