Zeitgeist met with 24 participants from Norway, Germany, Catalonia and the Netherlands in and around Stavanger 6-9 July 2011. With people from 6 museums and some extra people added to this, we discussed the value of storytelling in archaeological open-air museums. At the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger, Olle Hermdoff, archaeologist with various Scandinavian backgrounds told a beautiful story of the past of Norway and the museum: a good example of a great teller. Story telling is one of the methods under the umbrella of ‘live interpretation’ but is different from theatre or living history methods. Most of the rest of the two days, we were in the hands of Maritha Nielsen, professional story teller and teacher.
We visited Ullandhaug Jernaldergarden, a Roman Iron Age (re)constructed farm where an extensive staff greeted us, showed us around and told us some of the stories of the site. Following on that, we went to Landa. Monika Johannessen sent us on a travel through time after which we executed some of the activities they perform with adult education groups. The Mayor of Landa presented us with the backgrounds and history of Norway and his municipality, which were greatly welcomed.
Friday was a day when we went ‘into the deep’ with many story telling exercises where all participants got to try out and speak up. Language differences were less of a problem than earlier on as were the large differences between the different museums involved.
We discussed how the book on storytelling could be written as such that we and others will have pleasure in reading it, and making it a useful tool. This, and the other books we’ll prepare will be discussed in more detail at our next workshop meeting in October in the Netherlands.
We thank the colleagues at Landa, Monika & Ole, for their hard work in getting this workshop to be a success.