We work together with storytellers to give meaning to our history and collection. We invite children from differtent groups to make exhibits, we invite refugees to involve their heritage in our stories and our collection, we invite people who live in Tiel, but were not born there, to participate in our exhibits and manifestations. We have this written down in our policy plan, because it gives meaning to our museum. We have storytellers, music, we share eating; historical food mixed with food from Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Indonesia etc. We collect stories, we give the stories a place in the museum so you can listen to them and read about them. We tell about it in schools.
In october 2016 I invited two story tellers, a Dutch story teller and an Syrian one to the museum. They were asked to collaborate and create a story about the role of the river that runs through Tiel. They compared the situation of the meaning of the river during second world war, with the role the river plays for refugees in Tiel today. In the second world war our city, that's lies on the river De Waal, was occupied, but at the other side of the river, the country was liberated. Many refugees had to seek for freedom and they would cross the river by night, helped by the resistance. It was very dangerous and many died. This story is very much the story of the refugees of today. We only have the stories of the second world war resistance, because everything was destroyed and bombed. I thought that we could combine the two stories. It would hopelfully give the young refugees from Syria who are in Tiel the opportunity to realise the similarity of the situations then and now. On the other hand I wanted the people of the city from Tiel to listen to the story of the young refugees. In October 2016 they listened to both stories and we had discussion groups. The young refugees from Syria made a play about the topic of 'Happiness'. Can you find happiness again when you have fled from everything you loved, your country, your friends and your family? In October 2017 the group performed a play in our museum. They performed in front of the pictures from the shattered city of Tiel. Then they made an exhibit about their feelings of happiness. The exhibit lasted for two months in the same room where we have the exhibit of the second world war in Tiel.
Because our story, the story of Tiel during the winter of '44-'45 during the second worldwar, showed so many striking similarities with the present, we deliberately asked a Syrian former refugee, also still storyteller, to work together with the young refugees. We have made contact with refugees and with teachers, who work on stage with young refugees. They made the piece together with the young refugees. I talked in schools which we have to teach refugees our languages. I invited them to tell their stories and give them a stage. It was very important for them to tell their stories. Their rememberances are kept alive now.
"I am an enthusiastic museum director who likes to work with different partners and is always looking for exciting connections between our collection, stories and people. Tiel is a city where many different groups of people from various countries live. I really like working with them, and am interested to learn from their ICH. When it touches our museum's collection, great synergies can happen."
Educated as an artist, in stage photography and painting, Alexandra van Steen now works in a small museum with lots of volunteers. She also teaches painting and animated film, give lectures and writes comic books and childrens books about Flipje, one of the main characters of the Streekmuseum Tiel.
22 March 2018 from 16:33 to 16:33
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