Women’s power around the world
09.09. till 08.11.2009 you can see the exhibition “Women’s museums worldwide” where at least 25 museums from all continents present themselves at the Women’s Museum in Bonn. Not only Europe and the USA have women’s museums, they also exist on the African continent in Senegal, Mali and Sudan as well as in several Asian states. It is particularly amazing that no less than two women’s museums can be found in Vietnam, both founded by the state with at present app. 40 jobs. That is something the rest of our museums can only dream about. Many arose from private initiatives and only survive thanks to a lot of volunteer work.
The diversity of the women’s museums shows up as a wide range of themes. Many of them deals with history, many are ethnologically oriented or have a focal point in archaeology. Some women’s museums are pure art museums; others combine contemporary art with historical or social themes, as it has been the tradition in the Bonn Women’s Museum for 20 years. Next to the existing women’s museums is a series of initiatives for new establishing, and this even in countries who do not exactly shine with a women-friendly policy, such as Iran or Albania.
The new institutions – as for example the Ukrainian Women’s Museum, founded in 2008 – tackle the work with great commitment, they receive both support and rejection and sometimes they experience comical misunderstandings. For example, the leader of the Ukrainian museum wrote to Angela Merkel asking for a gift for the museum, as they also collect memorabilia from famous women. The Federal Chancellor’s staff apparently could not deal with this question and wrote a refusal. Now that letter is a part of the Ukrainian Women’s Museum’s collections.
In another part of the exhibition under the title “Idols – Role Models – Heroines” the museums present one or more women from their countries who might serve as a role model. It shows an interesting gallery of women, the heroines of everyday life. They range from flying pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton from Australia to soldier in the Vietnamese Liberation Army Nguyen Thi Dinh; from the flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya from Granada to Gro Harlem Brundtland from Norway, the first feminist Prime Minister. In this connection, the Bonn Women’s Museum recollects the women of the Rosenstrasse, who demonstrated against the deportation of their Jewish husbands in the Second World War.
In 2008 the network “WOMENINMUSEUM” was established, when representatives for the many women’s museums met in Merano for the first time. At the second meeting this year, a public conference will take place, where many women’s museums from all continents will present themselves. Apart from these, museum professionals have been invited to tell about contemporary analysis of the women’s representation and about innovative examples of practise. All lectures are bilingual, they will be held with English or German interpreters.
An important goal for this year’s meeting is to make the network a strong instrument for women’s culture and women’s museums, to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and projects and to lead the way to mutual support. The enthusiasm shall spread from this conference to other countries and further the rise of new fascinating projects. Marianne Pitzen, the directress of the women’s museum in Bonn, has taken the initiative for a Women’s Art Hotel for our museum colleagues, the ‘Dormitorium’. 60 female artists such as Ulrike Rosenbach, Hanne Horn and others decorate 60 hotel rooms.
Responsible: Bettina Bab, Petra Peter-Friedrichs, Marianne Pitzen
Information at ++49 – 228 – 691344 or email@example.com
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