Museums and the Community – National Museum in Warsaw
Discussion with Agnieszka Morawińska and David Fleming
We would like to invite you to another meeting in the “Museums and the Community” series, which will be devoted to the National Museum in Warsaw. It will involve a discussion with dr Agnieszka Morawińska, the Museum's director, and David Fleming, the director of National Museums Liverpool and and an expert in museology.
National museums are uniquely involved in their own history - the political circumstances of their founding and subsequent transformations, collections inherited over generations, their infrastructure, and finally the ideas their activities are based on. Such is the case of two institutions of the same age - the National Museum in Warsaw, founded in 1862 as the Museum of Fine Arts, and National Museums Liverpool - a museum complex the first division of which was opened in 1860.
The museum in Warsaw has five divisions and over 860 000 exhibits, while the one in Liverpool has eight divisions and more than a million exhibits. Both institutions organize their collections in a way that follows the 19th-century model of an encyclopedic museum in which the achievements of national art and culture are presented in the context of the history of civilization. However, in recent years the museums have undergone significant changes in order to adapt their exhibitions, program and communication strategy to the needs of our times. In Liverpool these changes are being implemented since 2003 by David Fleming, while in Warsaw dr Agnieszka Morawska has been overseeing them since 2010.
We will ask our guests what it means today to create a “national” museum. What is the meaning of the word “nation” in the context of cultural institutions today? How can we deal with a challenging historical heritage? Should a museum be involved in current issues and conflicts, or should it be a solid, trustworthy element in a fast-changing world? How can these seemingly old-fashioned institutions attract the contemporary viewer? And finally, is the purpose of a national museum to build a community, and if so - what kind of community?
PhD, director of the National Museum in Warsaw since 2010. Art historian, critic, author of publications on aesthetics and the history of art. She was the curator of the collection of Polish painting at the National Museum in Warsaw for 16 years (since 1993). She was the undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Culture and Art and an ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. She was also a curator at the Royal Castle in Warsaw and a lecturer at Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts. Agnieszka Morawińska has created numerous exhibitions, including “Polish Artists” (“Artystki polskie”), “Polish Painting in the Times of Frederic Chopin” (“Malarstwo polskie w czasach Fryderyka Chopina”), “Early Spring. Polish Art 1880 - 1920” („Przedwiośnie. Sztuka Polska 1880-1920”) and “Invasion of Sound” (“Inwazja dźwięku”). Between July 2001 and October 2010 she was the director of the “Zachęta” National Gallery of Art. She has been the director of the National Museum in Warsaw since November 2010.
OBE, MA, PhD, AMA, director of National Museums Liverpool since 2001. He carried out a thorough modernization of the National Museums divisions. In the course of his museology career he has gained international experience when it comes to the history of the city, attracting an audience, strategies of inclusiveness and diversity, human rights, social matters, management and direction of cultural institutions. David Fleming is currently the president of the UK Museums Association, the Convener of the Social Justice Alliance of Museums (SJAM) and the president of the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM). Dr Fleming is also the author of numerous publications and a valued lecturer.