Mission and Future of Open Air Museums in the Czech Republic is the very first large-scale conference in our country focused solely on open-air museums, and in a much larger context than the general viewing that these institutions usually enjoy. The aim of the Conference is to assess the current state of open air museums and reflect together on the vision of their future development, mainly the improvement of the conditions for their functioning, with respect to museology, legislation, management and financial resources.

The discussion will follow from the crucial need to recapitulate and define what the open air museum means to us. Nowadays, open air museums are more than ethnological museums that give the general public a sense of the rural lifestyle and traditional folk culture of the 18th and 19th century, and possibly the brink of the 20th century. More frequently these days one encounters archaeological, mining, military or industrial open-air museums. In addition to the large folk architecture sites, an increasing number of people are making every effort to reconstruct various items of folk architecture in their natural environments and make them accessible to the public. Many of these people belong to communities that are tightly connected to their local environment. Are these open air museums, too? And what criteria should be applied to define this type of heritage institution?

It is our wish and belief that the Conference may develop a forum for sharing experience, and a lively and frank exchange of views. The Conference will not try to merely present the current exhibitions and projects: it will focus instead on theoretical and methodological conclusions, which will be then applied to update the existing methodology for open air museums, and to build a new medium-term strategy for the development of open air museums in the Czech Republic designed by the Ministry of Culture.
A very important part of the Conference will be an open discussion over the issues and challenges the open air museums have to face and cope with nowadays. There will be a practical part of the Conference, too. Participants will be able to develop useful competences and draw inspiration for their personal development. Furthermore, we will address specific issues, and we will look for answers to important questions in small action groups. Conference talks and the outputs from the discussions will be published both in printed and electronic versions.

Whether you are a specialist in a well-known open air museum or you operate a local heritage site of ethnographic, archaeological, military, industrial or other nature, you are cordially welcome. Different themes expect the involvement of different professions – ethnologists and museologists, but also educators, economists, managers, PR managers or engineers and experts on investments. For information about thematic groups click here.