Project planing meeting in 2010
Kick off meeting Barcelona Jan 2011
OpenArch will broaden, develop and enhance a network of Archaeological Open Air Museums throughout Europe with the aim of improving the public experience at such museums through intensified exchange of staff and best practices, and adding European dimensions and intercultural dialogue to that experience. The project will also foster creativity and innovation, especially in relation to the opportunities offered through better interaction between Archaeological Open Air Museums and their surrounding communities.
The main idea of Archaeological Open Air Museums is to present both the tangible and intangible past to the public. The tangible parts of Archaeological Open Air Museums are the archaeological remains and the reconstructions of these (houses, ships, complete environments). The intangible and most interesting part of an Archaeological Open Air Museum is the story of the people that once lived there. This story needs to be constructed through experiments and validation processes. The story is what creates an intense the visitor experience and adds the element that sparks off interaction between museum staff and visitors.
The OpenArch project will sponsor more experiments in reconstructing the intangible heritage, and each participating organizer will assemble all its intangible heritage ‘capital’ into a coherent ‘story’ for that particular Archaeological Open Air Museum.
The quality of the visitor experience further depends on the quality and skills of the staff at the Archaeological Open Air Museums. Therefore, joint workshops and training seminars for all organisers are a vital part of the project. Workshops will be organised both in skills, that is, the way prehistoric life and work is presented to the public, and in experiments, that is, how prehistoric technology is tested and presented to the visitors.
The quality of the visitor experience also depends on the quality of presentations and interpretations, and therefore, training workshops focusing on didactics and presentation methods are also an integrated part of the project.
Finally, the visitor experience is dependent on the quality of management and running of the Archaeological Open Air Museums. Therefore, workshops and seminars will be organised for the management staff. These seminars will also focus on social inclusion issues, equality issues, environmental issues et cetera, and on the interaction between heritage attractions like Archaeological Open Air Museum and the local communities, including the local business communities.
C.I. De Calafell Spain, Catalonia, Calafell
Hunebedcentrum the Netherlands, Borger
Parco Montale Italy, Modena
Biskupin Poland, Biskupin
Archeon Novum BV the Netherlands, Alphen a/d Rijn
Kierikki Finland, Yli II
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales Cardiff, Wales, UK
Fotevikens Museum Sweden, Höllviken
AÖZA Germany, Albersdorf
Kalmar läns Museum Sweden, Kalmar
The project builds on the three-year project liveARCH, financed by the Culture 2000 Programme 2007-09, but has a broader partnership and a new content.
The coordinator has developed OpenArch with the assistance of two consultants, and in close cooperation with the co-organisers. The first concept was conceived in Spring 2008 and discussed at several meetings in the sideline of international conferences and meetings over the following 18 months.
There has been a planning meeting for all organizers, in Germany June 2009, and several working meetings of the planning team in Summer 2009. The project had valuable feedback of national cultural contact points of the Culture program, and the regional authorities of Catalonia.
The idea for this project was first mentioned and discussed by the EXARC members at their Annual General Meeting in February 2008 in Nykøbing (DK). Representatives of Calafell took part and volunteered for coordination, giving input based on own PhD research in visitor satisfaction in Southern Europe. It was discussed in the same month by Calafell with an ICOM Council member in Austria.
At the liveARCH (Culture 2000 Project) conference in Norway in March 2008, a representative of Calafell, the Parco Montale (IT), LNHM (LV) and Fotevikens Museum (SE) designed parts of the application, which were subsequently discussed and agreed by the EXARC Board in Hannover (DE) in April 2008, members of which were among others the Parco Montale (IT) and Fotevikens Museum (SE). Other museums represented in the board dropped out of the application at a later stage, but were involved between March 2008 and August 2009.
The application was discussed in detail at personal meetings by a representative of Calafell in June 2008 to Modena (IT: Parco Montale), Riga (LV: LNHM), and Höllviken (SE: Foteviken). After feedback at the Annual Convention of the European Association of Archaeologists on Malta in September 2008, at the liveARCH conference in Latvia in the same month, led by a representative of Calafell, the Parco Montale (IT), LNHM (LV) Kalmar läns Museum (SE) and Fotevikens Museum (SE) fine tuned parts of the application.
In October 2008, the plans (especially the experimental part) were presented by a representative of Calafell at the convention of EXAR in Oldenburg (DE) – who are one of the associated partners.
January 2009, the then detailed application was discussed personally by Calafell with the chairperson of EXARC (also representative of the Parco Montale) at a visit to Modena (IT).
March 2009 was an important moment when at the liveARCH conference in Modena (IT), the annual general meeting of EXARC gave its full support to the application, the coordinator and the co-organisers. Over the months March – September 2009, there have been several telephone conferences between the co-organisers, backed up by email contact discussing the design of the project, its structure, organisation, finances and content.
April 2009, a planning meeting took place in Calafell (ES) followed by an important meeting in Herbertingen (DE) in May where the plans were discussed in great detail between the majority of the co-organisers. Both in June and September, there were again planning meetings in Calafell (ES).