Job shadowing in Petöfi museum

Jobshadowing in Budapest, 6-11 August 2012 Liivi Rosenvald, Katrin Roositalu and Margit Kilter - three ladies from three small literary museums in South Estonia - were welcomed in Budapest on August 6 by the heat of 40 degrees, which probably marks the record of the air temperature in the country. For us it seemed a few degrees even higher due to the excitement about our very first trip to Hungary. So we took it as a good sign foreshadowing „hot“ (in every positive meaning of the word) days of grasping, saving and recording the aura, impressions, emotions, sights and all kind of information. We can assure now that we were not wrong! Which museums did we visit? - Petöfi Literary Museum - Endre Ady Memorial Museum - Hungarian National Gallery - Museum of Applied Arts - The exhibitions and activities of all the museums which took part in the Museum Quarters at Sziget Festival. What did we learn about the Petöfi Literary Museum (PLM)?
We met Janos Erlitz, the manager of the Public Relations Department, at a very significant old printing maschine in PLM in the morning of 7 August and he took us to Enikö Bauernhuber, the programme organizer of the museum, who very kindly spoke about her work and introduced the exhibitions. Enikö is responsible for different programmes, but having an excellent command of French and English she often has to guide tourist groups in the museum. Project writing is also an important part of Enikö's job. Nearly every day there is something going on in PLM for different target groups: a pedagogical programme, book presentation, conference or seminar, opening ceremony of an exhibition, etc. The museum also rents rooms for one evening to persons from outside to organize events and activities. There are about 20 programmes a month, incl. 10 by PLM. Enikö cooperates closely with school teachers to work out holiday activities for children. Adult programmes include discussion evenings with guest writers or artists and tea, lectures on literature, concerts, guided tours, etc. Every last Wednesday (except in summer) PLM is opened till 8 p.m. (the usual opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday), so that working people could have the possibility to take part in the museum events, e.g. guided tours, meetings with writers, literary fashion shows, concerts, theatre performances, reading marathons, stage readings, etc. Such evenings are called Nocturn. In May there is always a Museum Fair, which is an open-air event for children in the Museum Garden. The Museum Night in PLM takes place in June at around Midsummer night. It has become a traditon of linking pop/rock music and poetry. More than 1,200 young people attend it every year. In June there is also a Week of Books, where new publications are introduced. Visitors can have bars of chocolate with writers' photos from their childhood on the wrappers. In autumn PLM traditionally organizes „Budapest Transfer“, an international literature conference on changing subjects of international poetry translation and roundtable discussions. The most important day of the year for PLM is definitely 15 March, the Hungarian National Day, which is the anniversary of the 1848 Revolution. On that day a festive ceremony takes place at the statue of Sandor Petöfi in the Museum Garden. Hungarian writers are invited to participate at the event. Visitors of the museum have the unique chance to print Petöfi�s „Nemzeti Dal“ ( „National Song“) using the old printing maschine. There are also 1-hour guided tours to visit places where Petöfi had been. A few facts about Petöfi Literary Museum (see also: www.pim.hu): Established in 1954, opened in 1957. Locates in the marvellous Karolyi Palace, history of which goes back to the end of the 17th century; the pearl of neoclassical architecture in Hungary. The task of the museum is not only to process and preserve the inherited collections, but also to collect materials of museum value from contemporary Hungarian literature. The museum works hard to have the writers� and poets� legacies, correspondence, libraries, sound and video recordings, photographs (there are already more than 30,000 of them), furniture, personal belongings, etc., the documents of the editorial offices of literary periodicals and literary-type publishing houses as part of the museum�s collection. The museum has collecton departments - the Manuscript Archive, the Library, the Art and Relics Collection and the Audiovisual Library (including a special studio to record voices of writers); Public Relations Department and the Marketing Department organize the museum�s programmes. PLM adminstrates the exhibitions and collections of three provincial branches: the Kassak Museum (dedicated to Lajos Kassak (1887-1967), writer, editor, artist), the Endre Ady Memorial Museum (Endre Ady (1877-1919), poet, writer, publicist)and the Jokai Memorial Room (Mor Jokai, novelist). In 2008 PLM initiated the foundation of the Association of Literary Memorial Houses to create a national network out of theabout 60 houses (see:www.mire.hu). PLM has organized more than 500 exhibitions and issued more than 300 scholarly and popularising publications and exhbition catalogues. The permanent exhibition from September 2011 „Who Am I? Petöfi�s choices in his life.“ was announced „The Exhibition of the Year 2011“. The visitors number of PLM is about 90,000 a year. At the Museum shop you can buy PLM's publications (exhibition guides, volumes of essays and studies, bibliographies, lexicons, CDs, etc.), postcards of Hungarian writers, framed portraits of authors from the museum�s collections and other gifts. In the Palace Bookshop you will find translations of numerous Hungarian literary works. What did we like in PLM? - The fantastic location in the majestic palace with its fascinating rooms and halls in which a number of celebrities, eg. Maria Theresa, sovereign of Hungary snd Emperor Francis of Lorraine, Ferenc Liszt, etc. have been ; - The friendly and peaceful atmosphere; - The permanent exhibition - it is well organized, natural, varied, elegant, educative. The hologram was really captivative. The „music corner“ where visitors can listen to songs with lyrics by Petöfi. - The variety and design of temporary exhibitions. Out of the four: 1. „Minden megvan. Geza Ottlik“ (writer, translator, mathematician and bridge theorist) ; 2. An avant-garde periodical - 50 years of the Hungarian workshop in Paris; 3. Geza Gardonyi - author of the most popular Hungarian novel „Stars of Eger“; 4. „Istvan Orkeny 100“ - the master of the Hungarian grotesque“. - we found the last one most attractive, thrilling and even intriguing with cardboard boxes used in several combinations in the showrooms, illustrating and contributing brilliantly to the nature of the author and his works. Use of glass in very big quantities at Geza Ottlik display was an interesting and fragile sight, yet a little frightening if we think about safety of visitors and the exhibition as well. - The museum shop: The publications and advertising materials are of really high quality and nice to read.The set of playing cards with pictures of Hungarian writers in their childhood and adult age. The calendar-bookmark with photos of writers. The quiz for senior students. The bars of chocolate wrapped in papers on which different literary terms and categories had been printed. What did we see in Budapest generally? Quite a big area of the city between six bridges on the beautiful Danube, from the neighbourhood of the hotel „Thomas“ to the place of Sziget Festival; Sights and interesting places: the House of Parliament, Gellert Hill and the Citadel, Buda Castle District, Bridges of Petöfi, Liberty, Erzsebet, Chain, Margit and Arpad, Szechenyi Bath, Market Hall, and of course the breathtaking panoramas to and from the Danube and the city both in the daytime and late in the evening; statues and sculptures of well-known people; museums; the famous and huge Sziget Festival; A lot of people from very different parts of the world speaking different languages; The Sun shining five days in a row (we are not sure about the 11th of August as we had to leave in the morning). What did we like about Budapest? Magnificent and fascinating architecture of the city; Excellent public transportation system; Friendly and helpful citizens;Feeling of safety. What do we feel after this trip? Very proud of belonging to the great Museum World. Museums are meant to give visitors the opportunity to get knowledge and positive emotions. As visitors we got both; as museum workers we got additionally fresh ideas and confirmation to the belief that every museum is unique, you just have to be creative and devoted to your work. Gratefully to all Estonian and Hungarian counterparts who enabled us to have the wonderful days in Budapest, Liivi Rosenvald (Oskar Luts Museum in Tartu), Katrin Roositalu (Friedebert Tuglas Museum in Ahja), Margit Kilter (Juhan Liiv Museum in Alatskivi).

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