Presenting miracle of being face to face with rarities

For three days, Grodno became the country’s museum capital, hosting the 1st National Museums of Belarus Forum. Experts arrived from over 150 cultural institutions countrywide, as well as from Russia and Lithuania, sharing their accumulated experience and discussing new paths forward.Issues discussed included how to raise the prestige of rural museums and how to attract more visitors, while generating worthy revenues and ensuring that education and tourism are promoted. Experts from 14 countries shared their vision
By Iosif Popkovsky

The organisers did well, enabling each museum to worthily present itself in a festive atmosphere. The Neman Central Sports Complex hosted displays from each institution, with barely room to move. The rows of exhibits were packed closely into the huge hall, which was filled with hundreds of visitors.

The event was certainly unusual, with each participant given the opportunity to choose their own style of display. The districts of Kunstkameras, Kopyl, Myadel, Lyuban, Vileika and Kletsk drew crowds with their military songs and live bayan, making it impossible not to linger. The Gomel Regional Museum of Military Glory boasted a brass band and guard of honour while the Director of the Grodno Museum of Religious History, Lyudmila Kornilova, revealed the secrets of how to restore damaged items, including the screening of a video documentary.

Biologist Victor Bakhmat, from the Grodno Regional History and Archaeology Museum, presented a unique collection of stuffed animals and birds, created with his own hands. He recently won a prize at the World Taxidermy Championships in Austria.

The Kunstkameras District’s Dribin History and Ethnography Museum gave a presentation on how its exhibits are collected, while local 9th grade pupil Denis Rebukhovets conducted a master class in crafts; with an ordinary needle, he created a 3D puppy from wool fibres: a wonderful souvenir. Denis believes that anyone can make something similar.

Potter Oleg Kapusta, from the Minsk District’s Zaslavie Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve, gave all his concentration to creating beautiful clay vases. Ella Rezev, an employee of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, shared her delight, exclaiming, “Of course, these small vases are wonderful. The whole event has opened my eyes. My task is to take back my impressions. In 2010, our museum was voted best in the world by experts, as it boasts the world’s most ancient work of art: a sculpture dating from 2,303 years ago. It’s just 3cm high but many wish to see this small figurine. I reported on it at the Forum and hope that employees of Belarusian museums have obtained something useful from my speech.”

School museums also presented impressive displays, despite generally lacking rare or valuable exhibits or luxurious fittings. Grodno secondary school #16 founded a geological brigade almost 22 years ago, travelling from the Kola Peninsula and Crimea to the Urals and Transbaikal. As a result, their minerals collection boasts over 800 rare exhibits and has been awarded a title of public recognition, being a ‘People’s’ museum.
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