Curatorial tour Blood: Uniting & Dividing with Joanna Fikus

Second edition of Jewish Museums Today in Warsaw

The second network meeting dealing with communications at Jewish museums in Europe took place in Warsaw in January. The exhibition Blood: Uniting & Dividing served as a case study for this study visit. Together with the staff of host POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, 12 museum professionals from Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Germany and Austria explored various dimensions of the exhibition in relation to visitors, ranging from visitors studies, to communication plans, to events and to special educational programming for adults and children.
Read the full programme here.

The programme kicked off with a curatorial tour of Blood: Uniting & Dividing by Joanna Fikus, head of the exhibition dept. The exhibition visit was followed by a presentation on an in-depth research to the visititor’s perspective by Katarzyna Krauze, head of the marketing dept., which gave insight into the methodology used as well as the motivations and experiences of visitors in the first 15 weeks. Malgorzata Zajanc, Senior Marketing Specialist, presented the extensive semiotic analysis for Blood, the search for a good communication strategy and its references to popular culture.

The first day was finished with a visit to the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute where Anna Dunczyk-Szulc, head of the Art dept. of the ZIH, offered a curatorial tour of the recently opened new core exhibition of the Ringelblum Archive as well as the art exhibition Place. 3/5 Tlomackie Street.

Day 2 started with a talk from the Communication dept. Karol Kwiatkowski presented the promotion strategy, timeline and tools, followed by Marta Dziewulska on the media strategy: how to talk to media, partnerships and media results. Ewa Opawska from the Events dept. elaborated on the public programming for the exhibition, while Malgorzata Waszczuk showed the educational programming both for adults and for families with children. She also talked about the challenges of how to develop a programme around an exhibition that is not so suitable for young children. A peak into the future was given by Tomasz Strug of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, the next venue for Blood: Uniting & Dividing.

During the afternoon programme Malgorzata Zajac extensive research to barriers for attendance for family groups that could visit POLIN. The presentation showed the background, objectives and the methodology of the study and recommendations of how to overcome these barriers by choosing a communication strategy that focuses on the drivers for visitors rather than reinforcing the barriers. The extended programme also included study visit to the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw on the Vistula river bank, where the group was met by Deputy Director Marcel Andino Velez.

All presentations by POLIN staff members will be available on the AEJM website. Please visit the online archive of Jewish Museums Today.

It was very useful to see how the holistic approach to marketing and research can positively influence the creation of exhibitions and communication. Will definitely be thinking about “the bigger picture” more often.
Tomasz Kuncewicz – Auschwitz Jewish Center, Oswiecim

Besides general impact – like learning the situation in Poland, meeting colleagues from other museums and discussing issues with them, I got interested by one of the educational programs that was presented, and I contacted the author of it and took some ideas for our educational program that worked very well.
Marina Gehta – Museum “Jews in Latvia”, Riga

I presented the map of meanings of blood to my colleagues as a helpful tool because they are working on a story of ritual murder. […] A very concrete outcome was an intensive exchange with Malgorzata Zajac after the study visit about segmentations and personas.
Dorothea Parak – MiQua. LVR – Jewish Museum in the Archaeological Quarter Cologne