Cristiano Justino (Festival de Artes Performativas MetaDança, 25 Abril 2016)

Museums, participation and territory development

Vânia Carvalho e Raquel Janeirinho

JANUARY 5TH . 2024, 2:30.PM

In this session, we will learn about the admirable work that has been promoted in Leiria and Peniche, thinking about museums and the challenges of the contemporary world. We aim to demonstrate the identity and social transformation dimension of museums, presenting projects designed with and for the community, thus contributing to a more active and creative education. We will discuss cultural programming strategies based on identity values, which aim at the development of the territory, in a similar way to the goals of social and multicultural inclusion.

LEIRIA MUSEUM. A Museum under Construction; by Vânia Carvalho
The Leiria Museum has a history that goes back to the end of the 19th century, but the date that is assumed to be foundational is the decree of November 15, 1917, when the Regional Museum of Works of Art, Archeology and Numismatics of Leiria was created. The museum acquired a new name and a new home, in the Convent of Santo Agostinho, and reopened on November 15th, 2015. It is a municipal museum, with collections of regional origin and a much more diverse collection. It is located in an important monastic complex that dates back to the times when Leiria was defined as a city, in the mid-16th century, which is part of a much broader program of urban transformation in Leiria. The Museum has been located in four different locations since 1917, in a quiet turbulent process, and between 1986 and 2015, its collections were practically inaccessible to the public. The Municipality of Leiria was responsible for carrying out the building’s conversion project, which sought to combine requalification, conservation and valorization as a monumental core of the building, adapting it to new museum functions, in a process that was intended to be integrative. The museum project involved more than 40 researchers and entities, and the Leiria Museum, which is the result of the work and ideas of many, over more than a century, has now aimed to be a museum for everyone and for everyone, aware of the multiple challenges inherent to this desire. Only now is it becoming possible to access an important heritage, historical, archaeological, artistic and educational collection that until 2015 was not truly and fully accessible to various audiences. The aim of the project was to create an inclusive, accessible, welcoming, comfortable and friendly museum for everyone. From the beginning, it was considered essential to establish a strong relationship with the community to which the museum belongs, integrating the needs of local residents and visitors. This is a process in constant (trans)formation.

Following the sociomuseology’s aims, the action of this anthropologist has been focused on fieldwork, organizing exhibitions and educational and cultural mediation projects that are based on participatory inventory, in order to increase the museum-community relations, considering the articulation between heritage and development

VÂNIA CARVALHO is a Senior Technician in the Municipality of Leiria, coordinator of the Leiria Museum, the Interpretation Center of Abrigo do Lagar Velho (CIALV) and the Leiria Intercultural Dialogue Center (CDIL). Degree in History, Archeology variant, with a master’s degree in Human Evolution and Biology and a postgraduate degree in Advanced Studies in Tourism, Leisure and Culture (University of Coimbra). She believes that museums need to work, listen and give voice to the diverse communities, both within and around them, to become free and authentic participatory spaces. She seeks to promote the active and inclusive involvement of visitors and the community, fostering awareness and appreciation of cultural, historical and archaeological heritage, as well as the preservation and dissemination of local history. She is involved in several museum projects, having directly collaborated in the reflection, creation and development of the “Museu na Aldeia” (Museum in the Village), project together with a multidisciplinary team made up of museum professionals and artists with solid experience in social intervention projects through art.

RAQUEL JANEIRINHO is a Senior Technician at the Municipality of Peniche, where she works in the áreas of cultural heritage, heritage education and the municipality’s museum network. Graduated in Anthropology, Master in Museology with the dissertation “Heritage, Museology and Participation: Participatory Museological Strategies in the Municipality of Peniche” (2012), Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias. She is a member of MINOM Portugal – International Movement for a New Museology.