Would you like to join?
Join the Industry and Modernism Museum Network
Become our next museum pre-partner for EU Culture 2007 programme for the project:
– A travelling exhibition on Industry and Modernism in the Baltic Sea Region 1945-1980
The Industry and Modernism Museum Network consists of an interdisciplinary range of museums of technology, of architecture and of work from EU memberstates in the Baltic Sea Region, co-ordinated by The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen.
Right now, we are preparing a common future travelling exhibition on the subject “Industry and Modernism in the Baltic Sea Region 1945-80”.
The exhibition is planned to be launched in Copenhagen in October 2007 and subsequently to travel through Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the period from 2008-2010.
We are now looking for further possible exhibition partners and pre-partners for an application to the EU Culture 2007 programme.
Please, read on for further information:
1. The purpose of the exhibition (what are we aiming at?)
The travelling exhibition has a twofold aim:
– In the first place to communicate the common Baltic Sea Region’s industrial cultural heritage to a broad and national differentiated museum public.
– In the second place to establish a close institutional co-operation in creating the exhibition, which would provide a basis for further co-operation among the involved North European institutions in knowledge sharing and in exchanging experiences and museum items also after the end of the exhibition project. This network is unique, because it consists of two parallel groups, an interdisciplinary academic research group, involving universities as well as national heritage protection agencies, and a museum network uniting museums with different technological, social and cultural exhibition scopes. These two groups work closely together to let research innovations be directly transformed and communicated out to a broad public.
2. Behind the exhibition (what do we want to tell and why is this very important?)
During these decades the Nordic and Baltic countries are going through a process of restructuring from the high industrial society to the post industrial society – and in the case of the Baltic countries – to the post Soviet society. However, our industrial cultural heritage is still an important key to our understanding of the societies that we live in today and to the mental mapping of ourselves in our North European Region.
Our everyday life is still highly influenced by the industrial society’s modern visions about rational and straight lines in urban planning, dwelling- and industrial constructions.
When we transport ourselves through the infrastructure of our cities, we are moving along the trails and traces of the industrial age.
When we are entering our standard house or block, we are at the same time opening a door to the architect’s dream of functionalistic and modern dwelling for the mass man of industrial society.
But we seldom think about our recent past. The industrial modernistic idiom is still present in our societies to the extent, that we are not even aware of it.
The desire to examine the connections between industry and modernism and to explore how the industry and modernism have affected the everyday life and culture of the people in the Baltic Sea Region, are the motive powers behind the exhibition.
After the World War II the political chief ideologists of the Nordic and Baltic countries drew out two different society models. On the one hand the Nordic Social Democratic Welfare States, and on the other the Baltic Socialist Soviet Republics, separated by the cold war. But in spite of the ideological differences and of the mutual national diversities, the countries on both sides of the Baltic Sea realized radical industrialisation and modernization strategies in the post war period. In the high industrial era modern visions of rational planning and production on mass scale started to penetrate not just industry, but also the social sphere and people’s everyday life.
What consequences did the planners’ dreams about the society as a well-oiled machine, served by functional type men have for the daily life and work routines of the industrial worker? What impact did the modern visions have on our dwelling, urban environments and transport systems? On our way of thinking and living together? The exhibition will show how the abstract ideals of the politicians, the modern visions of the architects and the rational plans of the urban planner were experienced by the industrial workers in the industrial reality, seen from the everyday life point of view.
The exhibition will be constructed as six national different case stories. We shall meet six selected industrial “ideal types”, whose everyday life each tells a representative story, which is characteristic of the period, the region and the type of industrial work.
We follow the six storytellers through the four different urban spaces or zones, as defined by the father of modern urban planning and functionalistic architecture Le Corbusier: We start in the zone of dwelling, pass through the zone of transport and continue to the zone of work and the zone of leisure.
The six stories do not pretend to cover the whole post World War II History of the Baltic Sea Region, but intend to present snapshots of everyday life in the modern industry in the North European Countries. The six fixed points of the exhibition are points of identification, where the museum guest will meet the industry and modernism at eye level.
The six stories will show a broad and very differentiated spectrum of industry and modernism in the Baltic Sea Region, but the stories will also point at surprising parallels and mutual influence between the countries, and thus raise the question of a common Baltic Sea identity, which runs across the borderlands of the cold war and emphasizes the North European region as the seat of a high developed industry with a common modernistic expression.
3. Applicants and project partners (who are we?)
For The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen it is a natural task to enter the exhibition project as prime mover and co-ordinator, since the industrial cultural heritage is a field with a high priority for the museum. Furthermore, the museum is interested in viewing the Danish working class and industrial culture in a broad international context. Thus a North European travelling exhibition will provide a new perspective to the museum’s general exhibition activities, covering post war high industrial culture. The Workers’ Museum has former realized travelling exhibitions within Nordic as well as European framework with good experience. Apart from that, The Workers’ Museum took an active part in the Nordic-Baltic project “Industrial Heritage Platform” (2000-2003), originated from the Finnish National Board of Antiquities and financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers, and by this means the museum has gained network and work experience of relevance to the future exhibition project.
A network of museum institutions has been gathered about the exhibition project from the six countries involved: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The network is not only crossing national but also institutional borders. In the works committee different types of museum organizations are represented, which will ensure the necessary museum competence to cover the different aspects of the interdisciplinary field of industry and modernism from the museums’ different social historical, ethnological, art- and architect historical and technological angles. The museum pre-partners are as follow: Museum of Work, Norrköping, Sweden, Helsinki City Museum, Finland, The Museum Centre Vapriikki in Tampere, Finland, The Estonian National Museum in Tartu, The Latvian Museum of Architecture in Riga, and Museum of Energy in Vilnius, Lithuania. The museum network works in active co-operation, which means that each country would be contributing with documentation and museum items to its part in the exhibition.
To ensure the academic competence in the exhibition project the museum network is in close co-operation with the parallel Nordic-Baltic interdisciplinary research network, which in the period 2003-05 carried out seminars on the subject Industry and Modernism with participants from different academic institutions in the Nordic and Baltic Countries. This was funded by NOS-HS (Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and Social Sciences) and the research plan to develop further. The museum and the research network complement each other, thus the research network ensures a well-documented and solid basis for the future exhibition, where as the museum network can visualize the results of the research network and make them come alive to a broad target group.
4. Project phases (how and when?)
Phase I: (Feb. – Jul. 2006) The first phase of exhibition project has been focused on idea development of the exhibition concept and establishing of a museum network. This did among other things result in an exhibition seminar at The Workers’ Museum June 9-10 with an assembly of the research and museum network. This phase of the project was funded by The National Cultural Heritage Agency under the Danish Ministry of Culture.
Phase II: (Aug 2006 – Mar. 2007) The second phase of the project will consist of planning the exact content of the exhibition, collecting documentation, materials and museum items to be shown, preparing the construction and distribution of the exhibition, and fundraising.
The Nordic Museum Committee under The Nordic Council of Ministers has supported the phase II of the project.
Phase III: (Apr 2007 – Sep 2007) The third phase of the project is the physical production of the exhibition, which is to be carried out by an external architect firm, directed from The Workers’ Museum.
Phase IV: (Oct. 2007 – Jan. 2010) Showing of the travelling exhibition around Europe
To finance phase III and IV of the project there will be made an application to the Nordic Culture Fund under The Nordic Council of Ministers (Sep. 2006) and to the EU Culture 2007 programme (Oct. 2006.)
5. Exhibition plan (where and when?)
The travelling exhibition is planned to be launched in October 2007 at The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen and subsequently to travel through Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia und Lithuania in the period from autumn 2007 till January 2010 with an estimated exhibition period of three months in each country plus a month of transport and installation between each exhibition place.
A raw draft of an exhibition schedule looks as follow:
The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark (Oct. 2007 – Jan. 2008)
Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden (Feb. – May 2008)
The Museum Centre Vapriikki in Tampere, Finland (Jun. – Aug 2008)
Helsinki City Museum, Finland (Sep. – Dec. 2008)
The Estonian National Museum in Tartu, Estonia (Jan. – Apr. 2009)
The Latvian Museum of Architecture in Riga, Latvia (May. – Aug. 2009)
The Lithuanian Energy Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania (Sep. 2009 – Dec. 2009)
6. Target group
The travelling exhibition is addressed to the broad, general interested museum public with its different national approaches to the subject. In addition the exhibition will address itself to the education institutions, focused on secondary and upper secondary schools.
7. Information and PR
A poster and an English-language exhibition programme, which can be translated by the individual museums, will be included in the common exhibition project. Apart from that each museum in each country will be responsible for developing PR, information materials and creating events at a decentralized, national level.
In Denmark the exhibition will be included in The Workers’ Museum’s normal goal directed information and PR strategies. Furthermore, the opening of the travelling exhibition in October 2007 will mark the ending of the Danish national “Year of Industrial Culture 2007” and thus contribute with an international perspective to the Danish industrial cultural heritage. This means that the travelling exhibition will also be a part of the “Year of Industrial Culture 2007’s” information and PR campaign.
The exhibition period in Estonia merges with the centenary of The Estonian National Museum in 2009, and the travelling exhibition will benefit by the increased exposure in press during the anniversary.
Furthermore, the exhibition period in Vilnius merges with Vilnius as European Capital of Culture 2009 and marks the re-opening and transformation of the Lithuanian Museum of Energetics into the new Lithuanian Museum of Technology, which is expected to create PR also at an international level.
To create a feeling of the exhibition travelling around, we will start and develop a 6-lingual web log, with links from the national museum websites. Here people can enter and follow the exhibition on its route with updates, press covering, online guest book, chat and question possibilities.
For further information, please, do not hesitate to contact us:
Birgitte Beck Pristed
Projektmedarbejder / Project researcher
Arbejdermuseet & Arbejderbevægelsens Bibliotek og Arkiv /
The Workers’ Museum & The Labour Movement’s Library and Archives
Rømersgade 22, DK-1362 København K
Tel: +45 33 93 25 75 – Direkte: +45 33 48 03 28 – Fax: +45 33 14 52 58