The Curator Creates

by Nikola Krstović, Ph.D.

We urgently need to create lots of opportunities for people from different walks of life to talk about the big stuff: Human endeavour, discovery, nature, history and the future“, said Rosie Stanbury, the head of live programs of Welcome Collection from London, speaking about museums of the future. It’s not only about the Bilbao effect – it is more about how we can make changes in small environments. And, indeed we see that museums and civil and private organizations in culture are trying hard to engage people to respond locally and globally on many issues.

The European Museum Commission awarded the volunteer run Saurer Museum in Arbon Switzerland the European Museum of the Year (EMYA) 2014 Silletto Prize for work with the local community and involvement of volunteers; for being “emblematic of, the pride, economy and morale of the city of Arbon” and for its “sustainable development planning”.

Saurer was a truck and bus manufacturer, active between 1903 and 1982, and a major employer in the town of Arbon, Switzerland.  Their vehicles were widely used throughout mainland Europe, particularly during the interwar period. After the company closed its doors in 1987, 6000 people lost their jobs and the town’s economy collapsed.  However, a local volunteer group, the Old Timer’s Club, began to collect and restore Saurer vehicles and from their initiative a world class museum was born attracting tourists from around the world. Through their efforts, they brought back to life the stories and the important history of the town and its people while reinvigorating the local economy. The museum or “institution” was a material result of the huge enthusiasm and good will of the township. Out of ruin they climbed to the top of the mountain.

The ethos of the museum is everywhere, because it is actually life itself; it is about now and who we are, not about the past and who we used to be. Furthermore, it is about what we want to leave as a legacy for the future.

The curator can be anyone; but the real curator always creates – creates new values and meanings, produces or reproduces heritage so it can be recognized and understood today.

The online course 9 Lives of Curator – How To (Be)come More Relevant, being offered in the Fall of 2017 through Fionn Zarubica Learn, is about that.  It is about empowering young professionals to make a step forward, to engage, to explore, to be brave and to express themselves and the communities they belong to. To understand equally past and present needs. Developing the story from “How Not To Die of Boredom” in a constantly changing and challenging world to “Surviving Responsibility” in the very same one.  How to cultivate existing and potential audiences in the process of co-creation and networking; be efficient, transmit the messages and new values and speak to and advocate for freedom. In short how to become the best professional versions of ourselves.

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