For the 2016 edition of the Museum Education Seminar, the participants travelled to one of the most significant historic centers of Eastern European Jewish culture – Vilnius. Educators from 15 different countries got to explore the capital of Lithuania and its surroundings, generously hosted by the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.
The theme of this MES was “Politics of Memory,” with several sessions dedicated to the topic. Milda Jakulytė-Vasil took the participants on a Jewish city walk of Vilnius, and the group also went on excursions to the Memorial Musuem in Paneriai, the former prison Ninth Fort Museum in Kaunas and Shapsal Karaims Ethnographic Museum of Karaite culture. A separate session focused on exploring the educational dimensions of politics of memory.
During the seminar, the participants got to present their own projects and take part in several workshops that dealt with issues that all the participants face in their work as educators at Jewish museums. Tali Krikler (UK) led the workshops “The Inclusive Museum. How accessible are our educational activities?” and “How could museum educators interact with communities and active synagogues?” Irith Koster (NL) discussed the topic “Navigating museum politics”, Shlomit Tulgan (DE) introduced her artistic learning methods in the workshop “Creative Museum Education”, and Vidar Alne Paulsen (NO) and Irina Pocienė talked about “Using Religious Objects as Educational Resources.”
This edition was the first MES for Elena Fomenko, Educator and Deputy head of the Reception and Tour Departments at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow
“My first impression – and certainly a very important one – was about my colleagues from other museums: it was absolutely great to see how beautifully enthusiastic and educated professionals work at museums. The opportunity to get acquainted, share ideas and experience with the colleagues from Jewish museums is really priceless. (…) It was a perfect example of how a great event can allow not only for expanding business contacts, but also for receiving a mass of new ideas for museum work. I can say that a few of my educational projects have undergone a number of changes after this most enriching seminar.”
The Museum Education Seminar 2016 was supported by the David Berg Foundation NY