Wednesday, May 15
09:30 - 11:30
Lecture hall, General Staff Building (6-8, Dvortsovaya sq.)
The Museum Union of Russia ratified its Development Strategy for the Business of Museums until 2030 on 14 November 2018.
Russia’s body politic currently projects a controversial international image, and culture could contribute very instrumentally to changing it. The bedrock intent of the new museum development vision is to facilitate reconciliation across society, which is torn apart by too many issues and differences. One has to understand the differences well to act as peacemaker. The museums are highly eligible for this task. No wonder the museums came up with this Strategy, slated to be incorporated into the new Culture Law.
However, there is the rub on the cusp of culture and authority: the principles espoused by the administrative system are very far removed from the affairs of museums, from the principles and mission of culture.
The Museum Strategy, an action plan to be pursued in an environment of uncertainty, ought to bring together the physical and the metaphysical.
The metaphysical part includes the autonomy and independent decision-making of museums within their professional ambit, inviolability and indivisibility of museum collections, continuity of earning opportunities outside the state budget, and independent discretions in social policy matters (provided that a museum’s social policy shall not be dictated by the need to earn a living).
The physical part is, on the one hand, the institution of public art repositories, meant to underscore the paramount mission of museums as custodians of museum exhibits and, on the other hand, the appointment of open spaces, in which the museum itself reaches out into the urban environment.
One other critical question, posed by Time itself, is who exists for whose sake? Does authority exist to serve culture? Or does culture exist to serve authority?
The position of the museum community on this is clear. It is set forth within the Strategy. This position is articulated as follows: It is a duty of the non-government sector, the government, and society overall to sustain culture in its tri-unity of fundamental culture, culture by government contract, and the industry of culture, which earns an income and is a valuable contributor towards the national economy.
Before an impartial assessment – in legal and other terms - can be made of all the pertinent ideas, it would be helpful to hear what government authorities and museums of different status have to say, and to learn about best practice from our international colleagues.
The attendees of this roundtable will discuss the Strategy’s key bullet-points, including the questions of lawmaking, the challenges of collaborating with private collectors and building full-suite cultural educational facilities, protection of cultural heritage, and others.
General Director, The State Hermitage Museum
Stefano De Caro
Former Director-General, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
Head of Legal Department, The State Tretyakov gallery
Vice-president, Saint-Petersburg Union of Architects
Director, Museum of Russian Impressionism
Director of Law Department, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Head of Legal Department, The State Hermitage Museum
General Director, Peterhof
* The Programme may be subject to change
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