Andrzej Betlej

Therefore – about the Museum!

It all started with an e-mail from Magda in New Media: ’18 May is an International Museum Day – would you like to write something for our museum blog ‘Brzuch Muzeum’ (Museum Gut) on this occasion? The text doesn’t have to be long (ideally no longer than 2000 characters) and if you’d like to accompany it with photos, we’ll be happy to assist in obtaining them.’ OK. 2000 characters, seemingly not so many, and if the text is meant to appear on such an important day, it can’t be about nothing.

I’ve been the Director of the NMK for almost five months and… I’m always on the run. You may say that I live in an accelerated rhythm – there are so many issues, so many things to do. It’s not true that the director only deals with ‘big’ things. On the contrary – he or she should deal with all the elements that make up everyday life.

I’m wondering what could be of interest to our readers on this special day, the Museum Day. I won’t write about my favourite work of art, perhaps another time. Therefore – about the Museum! I’m still discovering it and learning about it, the place constantly surprises me. Not only me, in fact, it also keeps surprising Magda, who’s sitting beside me right now 😉

The Museum offers so many opportunities! Many people say that it’s a very peculiar place, but I wouldn’t use this term to describe its character. For me it’s unique. Most of all thanks to all the people working here. I think that on this very day we should think about them all. It is only at one point, during the opening of the exhibition, that the names of all those who created a given display are mentioned. But even the most modest exhibition requires collaborative work of many people: a curator, a coordinator, art conservators and a designer. Of course, these are the people in the so-called ‘spotlight’ but we should not leave out the employees of the departments of exhibitions, promotion, education, new media, inventories as well as our technicians – it is thanks to them that the exhibitions not only open but, more importantly, stay alive.

A friend of mine once said that a museum can’t be like Facebook. Naturally, our Museum has a great reputation and is an important place which creates the image of Polish culture. These are big words, almost an axiom. But Facebook – with its own specific rhythm, activity and diversity – is a bit like our Museum. Because the Museum is the people. Everyone – those we greet at the entrance, the ladies at the ticket office, the security guards, the museum wardens. Museum means people. Always.

On this day, I’d like to offer my best wishes and gratitude to my co-workers. Thank you for your work, openness and positive energy, which I find infectious.



Andrzej Betlej – the Director of the National Museum in Krakow

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