As a part of the Erasmus+ project, financed by the European Union and implemented by the National History Museum of Romania, our group participated in a job shadowing stage hosted by Museo e Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria (MIFP) in Florence, Italy.
The main objectives of this project were to learn and achieve relevant skills and competences in non-formal education, museum education, adult education and most importantly to develop inclusion related tools in order to be able to satisfy the needs of beneficiaries that have fewer opportunities. We are talking here about different kinds of methods to use in order to be able to expand our work range, so that the activities of our institution (exhibitions, guided tours and workshops) can be available to the beneficiaries that have fewer opportunities.
During our job shadowing stage we had the opportunity to be presented with the adult education program that the specialists from MIFP have been using in their activities for years, by giving us organizational details, showing us examples of educational and also marketing activities, volunteering projects that they are developing with their partners and a very complete presentation of techniques and tools they`ve been using successfully in activities with beneficiaries from target groups, such as adults with different backgrounds (for example migrants, or prisoners) or adults that have different kinds of medical conditions like blindness, deafness, Alzheimer or autism.
During the guided tour visit at the museum`s collection that followed the presentation we were able to see very interesting methods used by the specialists in order to make the visit more practical. For example, they displayed freely authentic objects made out of hard rock and bone in order to be touched by the public and also used 3 dimensional replicas of some of their objects that also could be touched, and in addition to this, they used an audio-guide and explanations in Braille for the visually impaired and sign language explanations for the hearing impaired.
Our mentor also presented us the techniques that she and her colleagues used when working with groups of adults that have a medical condition, more specifically, all the preparations that they are doing before the workshop, all the steps they are taking during their activities and also the results. For example, she showed us the interpretations made of clay that the participants of the workshop created, having as a model some prehistoric statuettes and various paintings they did based on the models of cave paintings they were presented before in a guided tour of the museum`s exhibition.
Sadly, we didn`t have the chance to participate directly in one of these workshops, the current situation with the COVID pandemic made it impossible, some of these activities having to be cancelled. Instead we were able to observe the methods the specialists of the museum were applying during guided tours for children, and how they managed to create a storyline of the human evolution in order to be fully understood by the visitors. Using the methods mentioned above, the replicas of the original objects, and also authentic objects displayed freely, and with the help of digital resources, they created a very dynamic and fun experience at the museum.
We also had the opportunity to make visits with guided tours at the partners of Museo e Istituto Fiorentino di Preistoria, our mentor taking us to visit Museo Galileo Galilei, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze and Museo di Antropologia e Etnologia, where we could observe their methods in implementing educational projects using as a tool their own collections.
Having said this, we were very much impressed by the quality of this job shadowing stage in Florence, and we learned a lot of new and interesting methods that we could and for sure we will use in future projects, and of course we made connections with specialists that we happily observed how much they enjoy their jobs and how much effort they are putting in order to make museums more reachable to all kinds of public, not only for targeted groups.
Participants in the job shadowing stage:
Dozsa Ioan Alexandru – metal restorer in the Restoration department
Gon Pompilia Teodora – museographer in the History department
Mălăncioiu Raluca Elena – museographer in the History department
Pătrașcu Ioana Roxana – museographer in the Patrimony department
Stănescu Andreea Corina – volunteer in the History department