Outreach is currently one of the hotly debated topics in the museum field. Friederike Holländer, head of education and outreach, elaborates what lies behind the term and how the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung deals with it specificaly.
Friederike, what does outreach mean to you?
In the coming years, the Bauhaus-Archiv will be undergoing extensive historical renovation and receive a brand-new museum annex which will provide us with considerably more space for educational activities. But for as long as the museum is closed, outreach does not mean acting like we’re a museum in a fixed location. Instead, we have to develop strategies to engage directly with the city. In other words, we ourselves are “reaching out” to them. We are supplementing these activities by collaborating with various partners on joint, long-term projects at our interim venue, the temporary bauhaus-archiv, on Knesebeckstraße in Charlottenburg.
What target groups are you specifically trying to reach?
With regard to the new museum annex on Klingelhöferstraße, we’re especially interested in reaching the people in our neighbourhood. The Bauhaus-Archiv is located in a very heterogeneous urban environment which did not exist in this form when it opened in 1979. We want to assume a more diverse and stronger role as a Berlin-based institution in this district.
What are the biggest challenges with respect to outreach?
In our experience, we’ve found providing low-threshold access is a demanding task, especially when we take the interests and needs of those with whom we work seriously. Partnerships require time and commitment, and outreach requires resources.
Can you give us an example of an outreach project at the Bauhaus-Archiv?
A very successful project initiated by the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung was the bauhaus_RaumLabor series. For over ten years, we’ve collaborated with various organisations in Berlin specialised in early childhood education and offered a number of artistic education formats. The goal is to show children at a young age that the museum is a place where their views are taken seriously.
What have you learned from your past projects?
In our large-scale partnership project “Space and Time – Children Move the Museum”, we have drafted a number of guidelines together with educators, artists and museum employees. One of these is: Children are not the audience of tomorrow, they are the visitors of today.
Let’s take a look at the future: What museum structures will have to change to ensure lasting success?
It is imperative that the entire museum regards outreach as a task that requires sufficient staffing and resources.