The Miracle Room – Museum workshop
On the Day of St. Lucy 13th December 2013, when wheat is sown – to find out how much success the following year will bring us – when weather conditions begin to be written down – in order that know what kind of weather awaits for us each month in the coming year – and when girls write the names of potential partners on pieces of paper – and then every day throw one away until Christmas when they reveal Mr. Right… the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka opened the doors of the Miracle Room.
The museum’s workshop – the Miracle Room is a new area in the museum intended for teaching activities and the permanent display of the Collection of Toys and Games, and a part of the Park of Knowledge and Dreams project which includes the revitalisation of the park of the former Governor’s Palace. The park has been conceived as a place in which visitors will be able to learn about the climate, history and mythology of this region in a relaxing atmosphere.
The first step in the realisation of the Park of Knowledge and Dreams included the repair and arranging of the garden pavilion of the palace which is located in its eastern wing. In its original function the garden pavilion was a place for entertainment and to get in touch with nature, spending time here was supposed to provide comfort, relaxation, casual socialising and fun.
The original functions have been retained with the project of vitalisation.
The revitalisation means clearly formulated goals and, in accordance with them, the addition of new features in the old areas in order to ensure their sustainability. The basic goal of the revitalisation of the garden pavilion is to enable children a visit to the museum which coincides with their age. In this way they will have the chance to gradually establish themselves within the museum’s audience with determined cultural needs and criteria. If their trip to the museum is pleasant they will lose the stigma of elitism which is very frequently connected with museum establishments. We will try to implement this with a selection of attractive features which will maintain authenticity i.e. to be based in historical facts. These are primarily themed museum workshops based on the experience of learning, at which children will through play and practical work become aware of parts of the local heritage.
With the interior arrangement of the garden pavilion we have tried to create attractive surroundings for a visit, socialising and for play. In the design which was put together by Vesna Rožman, an installation by two young artists Ivana Postić and Mateja Vočanec has also been incorporated. The playful composition projects their vision of the world of flora and fauna which surrounds us (less and less!). Within in this kind of framework is incorporated the permanent display of the museum’s Collection of Toys and Games presented through several themed units which give an insight into segments of childhood and growing up in the past, within the area of the museum’s activities. The themed units are connected to materials in the collection: My favourite toy, When I grow up I will be a great…, Social games and Games without frontiers…
The objects are displayed in glass cabinets behind wooden doors which need to be opened in order to see the objects, and photographs and picture postcards are hidden behind peep holes. A visit will in this way represent a kind of exploration and enable one form of interaction. In this way of presenting the objects they will at the same time be protected from unfavourable microclimate conditions which create great amounts of light which penetrate through the window on the south side (IR and heat; UV filters have been placed on the glass). With the exhibiting of a small number of objects the central empty area is free in which the museums thematic workshops can take place.
For children’s birthday parties special kinds of thematic workshops can be organised conceived so that what they make also become gifts for the celebrating child at the same time. The workshops will encourage positive social values, creativity and freedom of expression, whilst the workshop programme will be coordinated with qualitative assessments and evaluations, and their continuous expansion and improvement will be enabled.