Conference on the Future of Archaeological Open-Air Museums

Mid-October 2018, a conference took place in South Poland called “Archaeological Open-Air Museums: Reconstruction and Reenactment – Reality or Fiction?”

Seventeen speakers presented case studies and deeper lying questions. The conference included EXARC members from Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. Besides those, participants joined from university, museums, schools and the national government.

The debate at the conference included references to definitions and the different expectations for stakeholders, museum managers and their visitors. Several of the most interesting papers were:

  • The Show must go on. Subjective Reflections on the Reconstruction of Everyday Life of Ancient Iron Smelters in the Świętokrzyskie Region, Central Poland
  • The Image of the Past. Standards of Reconstruction and Presentation of Archaeological Heritage from the Perspective of Archaeological Heritage Management
  • Neither Reality nor Fiction. On the Practice of Authenticity in Historical Reenactment

On the second conference day, delegates got extended tour at the Skansen Archeologiczny Karpacka Troja, the hosting archaeological open-air museum. This museum revolves around an archaeological hill site with reconstructions from the Bronze Age and Early Middle Ages. The total number of reconstructed dwellings is close to 30. This was the week when Summer changed into Autumn; the small village near the museum as well as the park on top of the hill (in situ) were like a still image of the long gone past.

Later that day, Boguslaw Popek demonstrated fire-making techniques and offered the chance to work with reconstructions of bows and arrows.