New Project: Community Storytelling in Arctic Norway
Sometimes you have to travel far to find the things that are most obvious and most relevant to you. This last week, I traveled to Bardufoss Norway, north of the Arctic Circle, to consult with Midt-Troms Museum, which includes a coalition of a dozen or so local history museums and a new children’s museum — the first children’s museum in Norway in fact.
And in those travels, I found the Museum and its director Lisa Bostwick addressing some of the leading themes we grapple with in the museum world in the U.S., and coming up with creative solutions.
The museum has multiple locations in various communities, relatively small staff (but engaged volunteers), a goal to weave stories in from the community, and a desire to reach out through popup/traveling exhibits that lead to new family experiences in their various museum locations. And a major new facility that integrates library, museum, distance learning, cafe, and an opportunity to foster job skills among unemployed young adults.
Wow! Definitely a museum to keep an eye on. And, personally I have to say, to experience. Yes, I got to see the Northern Lights undulate across the sky on my first night there at a retreat on the extraordinary Senja Island. And I had a food experience or two, including Norwegian waffles (“vafler”) throughout the day, served with lingonberry cream, brown cheese and coffee at the small local history museums, providing a congenial environment for community stories.
I look forward to continuing to work with the museums, developing new formats for community storytelling through exhibit stations in the library, a popup exhibit on a traveling bus, portable stations for local stories (with waffles).
The project is part of a larger initiative of new services colleagues and I are offering that include not only the technology, but also community storytelling masterplanning and consulting on projects that integrate multiple community partners and community goals.