THE SMALLEST MUSEUM IN THE WORLD TWENTY YEARS OF ACTIVITY 1988-2008 (Najmniejsze Muzeum Swiata - dwadziescia lat dzialalnosci 1988-2008)
The Smallest Museum in the World is a centre dedicated to the creativity of senior citizens. On the one hand, it cooperates with the Third Age University, and the other hand - with primary and secondary school pupils. Its purpose is to motivate senior citizens and disclose their potential creativity as well as to annul the differences between generations by resorting to museum undertakings. The aforementioned activisation of the intellectual prowess of the elderly takes place by simulating the brain via painting. The second target is achieved by means of the so-called Dialogue of the Elderly with the Young. Brain stimulation consists of painting without a model, which inspires the intellect, the imagination, and intuition, and enhances association. It also reveals talent (such as a talent for imitative or creative recreation), making it easier to individually approach the development of talent for the sake of mobilizing creative independence. In turn, the Dialogue involves discussions on current life problems, the recording of the outcome of such debates in monthly fascicles ('Seria DSM'), and visiting cultural centres, museums, libraries, and scientific research centres. Both types of activity aim at breaking with the habit of passively gathering knowledge and at a transition to independent creative thinking. Knowledge is not offered in a 'readymade form' but by means of questions or a suitable reference to a museum exhibit and history, the provoking of own conclusions, and the stirring of critical and objective reflections. Excellent occasions are provided not only by the exhibits but also by the manner of their museum presentation. The article discusses the following domains of the Smallest Museum in the World: exhibition, publication, cultural-educational, pedagogic and social, with the authoress presenting various collections and social initiatives (The Hope Telephone, the Movement for Protection against Oneself). The conclusions stress that the dynamics of a museum are determined by the personal and creative involvement of members of the museum staff and their initiatives. Attention has been drawn to the fact that small museums could contain collections valuable for scientific research. This is the reason why special care should be bestowed upon such institutions. It would be a good thing if the National Museum had a central catalogue of collections from all the museums in a given country. Apparently, museums are ceasing to be exclusively a 'university of culture' and, according to the requirements of the time, are turning into centres of creative initiatives and education. The Smallest Museum in the World, opened since 1988 in a private flat in Warsaw (1 Blacharska Street, apt. 210), occupies 20 square metres (two showrooms).
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