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2008 | 49 | 286-294

Article title

NIGHT OF MUSEUMS - A CULTURAL AND SOCIAL PHENOMENON OF THE LAST YEARS (Noc Muzeów - zjawisko kulturowe i spoleczne ostatnich lat)


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The Night of Museums originated eleven years ago, with the first realisation of 'Lange Nacht der Museen' in Berlin. In Poland a similar event was first organised by the National Museum in Poznan, an example followed by other towns and institutions. In Warsaw it involves 120 participants. The Night of Museums has turned into a veritable socio-cultural phenomenon. One of its most important features is the greatly diversified offer addressed to a wide public. An excellent example is the National Museum in Warsaw, whose attraction lies not only in the featured masterpieces but also in events intended for all members of the public, regardless of their sophistication, even children. The Night of Museums is an occasion characteristic for special efforts to appeal to visitors: expositions, lectures, tours of conservation workshops and storerooms, but also concerts, theatrical spectacles, happenings and other highlights. The Night possesses considerable promotion potential, and meets with the interest of the press, television and radio. Its organisation is willingly shared by assorted towns, which perceive an opportunity for promoting culture in their regions. Another relevant feature is the Night's mass-scale nature, which might appear to be a paradox since the event is devoted to so called high culture. Art and culture become egalitarian owing to the interest they attract. The Night of Museums draws a public much wider than the one usually going to museums: assorted social groups representing various different interests and levels of education. Does it also offer a chance for an enhanced, in-depth and enjoyable contact with art? Or does the member of the public become a passive participant and not a conscious recipient? The visitor's interest is generated by his own curiosity, additionally kindled by the media. The mass scale of the event: a feeling of a community together with the character and climate of the Night act as a unifying factor. The visitors eagerly tour large institutions and impressive expositions, although the Night is also an opportunity for showing them smaller museums or centres distant from their customary interests. The diversified public shares a common goal, which contributes to the construction of all-sided social bonds. The participants are compelled to make choices (owing to the enormity of events and attractions) as well as deal with various inconveniencies (queues and crowded showrooms). Polish conditions also produced the question of interest in the Night of Museums due to free-of-charge access and symbolic payments in comparison with growing entrance fees. In addition, each member of the public is offered an event prepared specialty with him in mind. The Night of Museums is also a festivity of the museum staff, whose representatives would like the public to feel at home in their institutions. The thus amassed capital should prove profitable during the remaining part of the year. The Night is an excellent occasion for presenting the museum not only as a showroom full of paintings or sculptures, but also as a dynamic centre of education and entertainment.







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  • Katarzyna Rokosz, no data


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