On 22 February, an international seminar entitled “One object, many visions” was held in Lisbon, organised by ICOM Portugal and EMEE (Eurovision-Museums Exhibiting Europe). The objective of this international gathering, focused among other topics on the improvement of social participation in museums and visitor interaction, was to assess museum networking and the synergies that arise from this. Many important ICOM figures took part, including ICOM President Hans-Martin Hinz, as well as Emma Nardi, Chair of the CECA International Committee, and David Vuillaume, President of NEMO and Secretary of ICOM Switzerland.
After congratulating his colleagues from ICOM Portugal on the success of this meeting and sharing his excitement to take part in the project, the ICOM President underscored the need for this kind of event, asserting the current evolution of society and the major changes it is undergoing, as well as the challenges that museums are facing. “The topic of this conference precisely responds to the needs of many museums, because we live in an increasingly globalised world. Museums need to offer different points of view on culture and history to allow visitors to better understand the world,” stated Hinz. He added: “The role of museums at the service of society has to be continuously discussed by museum professionals, politicians and private donors, not only to ensure that museums are at the forefront of information exchange, the conversation on history, culture and nature, but also to promote lasting practices and continuing education thanks to the use of their own resources. Visitors, through their experience in museums, have to be able to develop a curious mind, inviting them to understand past and present.”
The purpose of the EMEE project is to make museums more accessible, using an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to reinterpret museum objects. The goal of the project is to use new forms of presentation and explore all of the possibilities for visitor participation, in order to develop audiencies and give new meaning to the objects. This project is supported by the Cultural Programme of the European Union, and coordinated by the University of Augsburg. It was set up in November 2012, and will run until the end of 2016.
This project develops the promotion of intercultural dialogue by promoting museums and their collections, thus contributing to the enhancement of museums as social actors. It was essential that ICOM take part, just as ICOM spearheaded the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society.