The temporary exhibition "Together" in the Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews
In November 2012 the exhibition "Together", dedicated to multiculturalism of Ukraine and Chernivtsi, was held in the Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews. The exhibition was the final part of the project "Overcoming stereotypes together", which was being realized since April 2012. It was organized by the Chernivtsi Jewish Socio-Cultural Fund, the Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews in a partnership with the Department of Education and realized on a grant of the Chernivtsi City Council. The project aimed at increasing the inter-ethnic understanding of youth.
The exhibition consisted of two parts. The first part was generously given to us by the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine. It presented materials about different national groups of Ukraine in past and today though personal stories of certain people - representatives of young generation. The display boards contained stories told by boys and girls about their perception of the history of their own nation, about stereotypes and prejudices they faced in their lives.
The second part was prepared by pupils from Chernivtsi who were participants of the project "Overcoming stereotypes together". The materials, gathered by the pupils, told about the contribution of the biggest ethnic communities - Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish, German and Jewish - into cultural development of our city. Modern multicultural Chernivtsi was presented in the exhibition as well. The pupils decided to focus on the interesting and unique cultures of Armenian and Korean communities.
According to the concept of the project an excursion around the exhibition for visitors was given by pupils themselves. The organizers of the project got this experience from the Congress of National Communities. A representative of the Congress came to Chernivtsi and gave a workshop for future guides. During the workshop which took the whole day the participants did not only learn how to give an excursion, but started to discus different topics which were all concerning issues of understanding and tolerance.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition was held in the Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews. It gathered a big audience of interested people. During the next days the exhibition was visited by pupils from schools situated in the central part of the city. To make visiting as convenient as it may be the exhibition was travelling through schools in different parts of the city afterwards.
Estimating the results of the project we can say that in 15 days 72 excursions for more than 1100 visitors were given. In this connection we would like to express our gratitude to pupils-guides, who were giving 4 excursions each day, sometimes with the shortest breaks, but always with a smile and in a good mood.
We would like to thank everyone, whose help made the realization of this project possible. First of all, we address our gratitude to the Congress of National Communities and personally to Anna Lenchovska and Andrii Knyzhnyi for materials, consulting and support.
We are sincerely grateful to the Department of Education of the Chernivtsi City Council and personally to Herasym Natalia. Her professional help and advice were vital for carrying out the working schedule in full and on time.
The publishing house "Books XXI" and "The best café at the corner" as sponsors provided us with presents for the participants. We are thankful to the local businessman Vasyl Dronyak for this support.
Now, that the project "Overcoming stereotypes together" has ended and we are about to think of its outcomes, we cannot say that every visitor of the exhibition has overcome stereotypes and biases on the way to inter-ethnic harmony. However, we are sure that the topic of inter-ethnic tolerance has been opened from a new perspective for many participants of this project. If we were able to reach at least a part of our target group - among either the guides or the visitors - we should consider that we got our aim.
The pupils, who were giving excursions to their fellows, used to finish with the words of Georg Drozdowski. Thinking about the city of his youth, Georg Drozdowski, the Austrian writer of the Jewish origin, described its multicultural atmosphere with the following words: "... we were diversity in unity and were coming along with each other well. We lived and we let others to live...". We would like to believe that this "diversity in unity", which was characteristic for Chernivtsi, will be one of its main features in the future as well. The Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews as well as the Chernivtsi Jewish Socio-Cultural Fund will be creating and realizing new interesting projects with this aim.
Click on the photo to enlarge.