05BUCHAREST1578 / 2005-07-15 11:03:00
Embassy Bucharest
                UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001578 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/PPD (WALKER AND HARTLEY); IIP/G/EUR 
(ELLISON) AND IIP/T/SV (SEBSOW); EUR/ACE (CERIALE/ 
FROMAN) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OIIP, KPAO, RO, museum 
SUBJECT: PD BUCHAREST'S CONFERENCE ON MUSEUM MANAGEMENT 
AND PROMOTING REGIONAL COOPERATION, JUNE 22-25 
 
1. SUMMARY: FROM JUNE 22-25, PD BUCHAREST HOSTED A 
SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR MORE THAN 90 
MUSEUM DIRECTORS THAT PROMOTED REGIONAL COOPERATION AND 
GAVE THEM PRACTICAL IDEAS ON HOW TO THRIVE AS CIVIC 
INSTITUTIONS IN A MARKET ECONOMY.  THE SEMINAR DIRECTOR, 
DR. MARC PACHTER, ENSURED THAT PRESENTATIONS AND INFORMAL 
DISCUSSIONS REMAINED FOCUSED ON THE THEMES.  HE USED TO 
GREAT EFFECT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE DEPARTMENT-FUNDED 
SPEAKERS AS WELL AS THOSE SUPPORTED BY OUR CO-SPONSOR, 
THE FUND FOR ARTS AND CULTURE TO EDUCATE THE MUSEUM 
REPRESENTATIVES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ON STRATEGIES 
AND TECHNIQUES ON FUNCTIONING IN A MARKET ECONOMY.  THE 
SUCCESS OF THE SEMINAR WAS EVIDENT FROM THE FEEDBACK 
RECEIVED FROM THE PARTICIPANTS - 90 PERCENT OF THEM 
INDICATED THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED WAS VERY USEFUL 
AND ADDRESSED THEIR PROBLEMS/NEEDS.  SECONDLY, THE 
ROMANIAN MINISTRY OF CULTURE'S STATE SECRETARY FOR 
MUSEUMS AND MONUMENTS CAME TO BOTH THE EMBASSY AND TO THE 
FUND FOR ARTS AND CULTURE WITH A PROPOSAL TO REPEAT THE 
SEMINAR IN MINISTRY FACILITIES NEXT SPRING (2006). 
FINALLY, MEDIA COVERAGE HELPED GET IMAGES AND MESSAGES 
OUT TO ROMANIA'S MAJOR CITIES AS WELL AS TO NATIONAL 
AUDIENCES FROM BUCHAREST-BASED OUTLETS, GENERATING 
ADDITIONAL INTEREST AMONG THOSE WHO WERE NOT INVITED OR 
UNABLE TO ATTEND THE PROGRAM.  PD BUCHAREST THANKS BOTH 
IIP AND PD SECTIONS IN THE REGION FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING 
SUPPORT OF THIS PROGRAM.  END SUMMARY. 
 
90 PARTICIPANTS FROM 12 COUNTRIES 
 
2. From June 22-25, PD Bucharest hosted a regional 
seminar with the provocative title "Do Museums Matter: 
Making the Case, Finding the Means."  We sought to 
advance MPP goals in civic institution building, economic 
development in a free market, and promotion of regional 
stability.  Our strategy was to help museums become more 
relevant to their communities and better equipped from a 
management standpoint to thrive in a market economy.  The 
seminar drew a total of forty museum directors from 
twelve countries in the region, as well as more than 
fifty Romanian museum managers and GOR representatives 
from across the country -- many more than we expected 
when invitations first went out. 
 
STRUCTURING THE SEMINAR FOR PRACTICAL RESULTS 
 
3. Dr. Marc Pachter, the Director of the National 
Portrait Gallery and Acting Director of the National 
Museum of American History, gave the keynote address.  He 
spoke with practiced ease and verve.  He briefly outlined 
changes in the mission of museums from the nineteenth 
century until today, and ended with the current 
challenge: how to make museums not simply better 
warehouses of artifacts, but better civic institutions, 
capable of engaging families and other target audiences 
with exhibits and programming.  Pachter, a SEED-funded 
and IIP-supported speaker, worked previously for USIA as 
a senior cultural advisor.  He clearly understood the 
need for the seminar to produce practical, measurable 
results.  Consequently, he had all the speakers share 
best practices and quickly get down to brass tacks on how 
participants might share resources and programming to 
better serve their communities. 
 
 
 
INFORMAL DISCUSSION GROUPS EXPLORE SPEAKER TOPICS 
 
4. The seminar's format had speakers deliver talks on 
their area of expertise, and then lead informal 
discussion groups where participants could air specific 
problems, brainstorm solutions, and explore joint 
activities.  An excellent speaker/group leader was Dr. 
Graham Beal, the Director of the Detroit Institute of 
Art, and our second IIP-supported, SEED-funded, speaker. 
Participant exchanges in Beal's group focused on finding 
new sources of funding and other resources (e.g., free 
utilities, in-kind contributions) as well as on several 
other issues. 
 
ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS PROVIDED BY THE FUND FOR ARTS AND 
CULTURE 
 
5. The Fund for Arts and Culture which co-funded this 
event brought three additional speakers at its own 
expense.  They also provided high quality contributions 
to the program.  The first, Mr. Patrick Gallagher, is the 
president of a leading U.S. design firm with long 
experience in mounting permanent and temporary exhibits. 
He spoke fluently on everything from structuring visitor 
evaluation forms to creatively reusing aging display and 
exhibition equipment to maximize cost savings. Gallagher, 
together with a second Fund-supported speaker, Mr. Klaus 
Muller, a museum designer and architect from Amsterdam, 
gave an outstanding demonstration of how museums can 
engage an audience that is indifferent or possibly 
hostile to a given exhibition theme.  Muller is currently 
at work on a Dutch museum memorializing gays and lesbians 
persecuted during the Nazi era.  The museum's target 
audience -- high school students - includes many Muslims 
who are generally unsympathetic to homosexuals.  Between 
Muller's architectural expertise, and Gallagher's 
knowledge of design, they walked the audience through 
conceptualization of the exhibit - from the venue, to the 
way the story of these people was told so as to 
universalize their experiences of betrayal, arrest, 
escape, survival, or dehumanization and death - and 
helped the speakers themselves conceptualize the exhibit. 
The seminar participants, many of whom were not favorably 
disposed to this theme, were nevertheless impressed with 
the effort and left with food for thought on how they 
might mount politically difficult exhibits that would 
nevertheless draw crowds. 
 
STATE-SPONSORED INSTITUTIONS SUCCEEDING IN SPITE OF 
BURDENSOME RESTRICTIONS 
 
6. Miguel Fernandez, Director of Mexico's Museum of the 
Viceroyalty, was the final Fund-supported speaker.  His 
topic was how to mobilize and motivate museum staff to 
produce exhibits that draw larger audiences without new 
objects or significant new funds.  Fernandez has had 
notable success in revitalizing his state-supported 
museum despite flat budgets, restrictive labor laws, and 
a bureaucracy that is often part of the problem.  His 
presentation resonated with many of the seminar 
participants who face similar difficulties in their home 
countries where state financing comes with a raft of 
unhelpful regulations and limitations.  Fernandez pursued 
potential solutions to these problems in his discussion 
group, overcoming limitations in his command of English 
with the help of Marc Pachter. 
 
RESULTS 
 
7. PD Bucharest ran the overall program, but our co- 
sponsor, The Fund for Arts and Culture, supplied the 
talent for the substantive elements for this highly 
successful seminar.  We found the presentations of these 
consultants to be uniformly outstanding.  The seminar 
leaders demonstrated that, at least in the seminar's 
structured environment, this region's museums can work 
together to solve mutual problems, share success 
formulas, and brainstorm joint projects of mutual 
benefit.  The participants got right to work, little time 
was lost "ice-breaking," and many wanted a follow-up 
conference to focus in greater depth on specifics such as 
fund-raising and grant writing.  After hearing of the 
success of "Friends of the Museum Associations" from 
Romanians who developed such groups under a previous 
grant from PD Bucharest, most participants agreed that 
this was one concrete step they would pursue upon return 
to their home countries. 
 
8. The Romanian Ministry of Culture offered its 
unconditional support from the very beginning for this 
colloquium.  The Ministry of Culture's Secretary of 
State, Virgil Nitulescu, who spoke at the opening 
session, had invited his counterparts to participate in 
the conference, and several accepted his invitation. The 
Ministry of Culture also put at the conference's disposal 
its main conference room for the presentation of an IT 
project called "Ethnography on Line", which was created 
by Romanian Village Museum for local use. The colloquium 
only strengthened the initiative and will to transform 
this IT project into a regional IT tool of cooperation in 
this domain. The enthusiasm of participants and the 
success of the seminar, which was obvious even before the 
end of its debates, also lead to the idea, proposed by 
the Ministry of Culture, that a similar event be held 
next year. 
 
9. In Romania, PD was able to generate much press for the 
conference.  The cultural TV station TVRM, a major 
financial daily Ziarul Financiar (cir.35, 000), the 
cultural magazine Flacara, and Romanian state television 
RTV all extensively featured the conference in their 
reporting. The correspondent to Romania for the South- 
East European Times is working from the material 
dedicated to the event for an article that will run 
regionally. And, the Dow-Jones correspondent to Romania 
also interviewed PAO Mark Wentworth and speaker Marc 
Pachter and we are expecting an article to run on their 
service in the near future. 
 
10. COMMENT: 
 
-- PD Bucharest highly recommends IIP-supported speakers 
Marc Pachter and Graham Beal to the Department and other 
posts for any museum-related programming.  Both are easy- 
going, practiced, engaging presenters, who are readily 
approachable and concerned to fit their presentations to 
the needs of seminar participants. 
 
-- PD Bucharest would be pleased to share in greater 
detail the planning and organizational details, as well 
as other materials produced for the conference with 
interested posts.  Please contact Cultural Assistant 
Isabella Alexandrescu ([email protected]) or PAO 
Mark Wentworth ([email protected]) if interested. 
 
-- We greatly appreciate cooperation from staff of posts 
which sent participants and made this such a success.  We 
would also welcome posts' feedback once they have a 
chance to debrief conference participants. END COMMENT. 
Taplin 

            
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