As many as 13 percent of more than 95,000 museums currently operating worldwide could disappear from the cultural map as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges brought by lockdown were discussed by the participants of two discussion panels within the framework of the debate “Przyszłość muzeów i muzea przyszłości – refleksje w erze pandemii” (“The Future of Museums and Museums of the Future – Reflections in the Age of the Pandemic”). Directors of the following institutions: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek will meet with architects from studios designing for museums: Nizio Design International, WXCA and BBGK. The online event took place on September 9, 2020 and was broadcast live on the Facebook fanpages of the participants.
In recent years, numerous new institutions have been established as a result of a museum boom of an unprecedented scale. According to UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM), between 2012 and 2020 the number of museums increased by 60 percent. The pandemic has left its mark on an entire culture industry; museums have not been spared. While museums and galleries in Poland are currently able to operate, they are undoubtedly facing uncertainty with regard to their future. The necessity of closing down for a prolonged period of time, cancellation of events accompanying exhibitions, blocking of commercial activities such as renting space for events – all this put museums in an unusual situation. The facilities that were able to quickly adapt to the new reality moved with their activities to the online world. However, online presence is something entirely different from being in constant physical contact with the visitors. The principles of social distancing and maintaining a sanitary regime have also resulted in the introduction of some changes in architectural design, especially within the scope of space in museum buildings and at exhibitions. So what exactly are the current needs of these institutions? How can architects respond to those needs?
These are only some of the issues that the participants of the debate “The Future of Museums and Museums of the Future – Reflections in the Age of the Pandemic” which included two discussion panels considered together: “Muzeum w nowej rzeczywistości” (“Museums in the New Reality”) and “Nowe wyzwania w projektowaniu muzeów” (“New Challenges in Museum Design”). The event was organized on the initiative of Mirosław Nizio, the owner of the Nizio Foundation and the Nizio Design International studio, specializing in designing museum architecture and exhibitions.
The discussion was attended by museum directors and representatives of architectural studios working on museum projects. The guests of the debate met in the Nizio Gallery, and the discussions were streamed live on the Facebook fanpages of the institutions and studios participating in the event.
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews was represented by Jolanta Gumula, Deputy Director for Program Issues. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the new building of which is being constructed on Plac Defilad in Warsaw, was represented by its director Joanna Mytkowska and curator Tomasz Fudala.
Director Robert Supeł participated in the discussion on behalf of Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek. Mirosław Nizio of Nizio Design International, Szczepan Wroński of WXCA and Konrad Grabowiecki of BBGK Architekci presented the designers’ perspective.
AGENDA FOR THE DEBATE | SEPTEMBER 9, 2020:
5:00 p.m., discussion: “Muzeum w nowej rzeczywistości” (“Museums in the New Reality”)
6:00 p.m., discussion: Nowe wyzwania w projektowaniu muzeów” (“New Challenges in Museum Design”).