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"The non-silence" of the lambs" – The european heritage of sheep farming and pastoral life

Hungarian Open Air Museum, Granary – Szentendre, Hungary

11/04/2014 – 31/10/2014


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 The international exhibition of CANEPAL project „The non-silence" of the lambs – The european heritage of sheep farming and pastoral life" opened its doors on 11th April 2014 at Hungarian Open Air Museum, Szentendre, Hungary. Sheep breeding in Europe has a history of several thousand years. During the past centuries further to representing a significant sector of economy, sheep farming has implied and does even today a material and spiritual cultural heritage of extraordinary wealth. The cultural phenomena created by the shepherds' particular lifestyle close to nature and by sheep keeping passed on their heritage and features easily recognizable and identifiable in music, customs, clothing, farm architecture, dietary culture as well as arts and crafts Europe-wide. The Hungarian Open Air Museum committed itself to researching, processing and presenting this rich culture by guiding a project of the European Union with the participation of research and museum institutions of several European countries. Our exhibition presents the results of this project, highlighting Hungarian examples and focussing on parallel characteristics from the Estonian, Polish, French, English, Bulgarian and Greek culture.

The aim of the exhibition is to show how did the "reputation" of shepherds change from the 19th century till nowadays. The scientific scenario is based on the 10 thematic research reports conducted in the framework of CANEPAL project and conducted by a curators' board. The exhibition displays more than 300 museum objects and art works from more than 30 cultural institutions (museums, archives, libraries, universities) from several European countries.

The sturcture of the exhibition venue gave the chance to present the topic parallel with the historical changes. The ground floor invites visitors to discover the lifestyle of shepherds from the 19th century. This lifestyle featuring archaic elements and the people living in harmony with nature as well as their activity came to the centre of attention of scientists, moreover, several artists depicted motifs of the shepherd's life in their artworks, and town dwellers were eager to know more about this romantic, mysterious lifestyle and gladly accepted opportunities offered by the developing tourism. The second floor presents the change in sheep farming. The industrial revolution in the second half of the 18th century however resulted in considerable changes. The impact of the industrial revolution reached different European regions in different times, sometimes decades later and certain areas had access to the modern achievements not before the beginning of the 20th century. Basis for these changes was the agricultural development, which increased the productivity. The mechanisation, the developing factory industry and the introduction of new technologies can be followed up in the textile industry too. That is the reason why curators focused on milk and wool processing in order to highlight the effect of industralization and modernization in the second floor. The third floor is dedicated to the 21st centruy and to contemporary art.

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The collection of artifacts is complemented by audio-visual material and multimedia content such as films presenting milk and wool processing in factories, a panorama film on sheep herding projected by three projectors, and a multimedia panel showing the pastoral music of 6 European countries.


The main objective of this exhibition is to bring together all thematic exhibitions under one roof and present a “global” view of the cultural heritage of sheep farming and pastoral life, with its repercussions upon present societies and contemporary social and economic life. Part-objectives include:

  • The stimulation of the transnational mobility of cultural operators and the transnational circulation of cultural objects
  • The wide dissemination of project results
  • The promotion of trans-cultural understanding and the strengthening of the common cultural heritage across European countries
  • The demonstration of the close linkages between past cultural heritage and important issues that concern contemporary European societies, including the linkage between culture and nature as the basic premise of the well being of rural communities over the ages.
  • The opportunity given to historical, ethnographic and rural heritage museums of different European countries to widen their horizons and present to an international audience significant exhibits they include in their collections.

A museological study and a scenario that will connect the 10 themes of the research into one integrated exhibition, demonstrating the cultural heritage of sheep farming and pastoral life and its connection to contemporary issues, including the links between culture and nature which have been weakened by the life style and the ethos of modern societies. The exhibition will try to link the past with the present, reveal the rich common heritage that has been developed around the sheep and the shepherd in rural Europe and project the legacies of this heritage to contemporary societies through modern media and interpretation methods, using audiovisual exhibits developed for the thematic exhibitions in the partner-countries.

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With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

Modules / Menus for development only...

Bulgarian (Български)
English (United Kingdom)
Español(Spanish Formal International)
Estonian - et
French (Fr)
Hungarian (formal)
Italian - Italy
Polish (Poland)