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"In Harmony with Nature: Pastoral Life in Europe"

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Museum Kresów in Lubaczów, Poland

19th May – 15th October 2013

The exhibition entitled "In Harmony with Nature. Pastoral Life in Europe" was organised within the project CANEPAL. This is the second thematic exhibition within this project which presents cultural heritage of sheep farming in Europe.

The main organizer of this exhibition is the Museum Kresów in Lubaczów, one of the partners of the project CANEPAL.

Venue of the exhibition

The gallery "Oficyna" in castle and park complex of the Musuem Kresów in Lubaczów (area: 150 square metres).


19th May – 15th October 2013

Idea and the substantive content of the exhibition

The main purpose of the exhibition is to present peculiarity and wealth of pastoral culture as far as annual and everyday lifecycles are concerned. Chronologically speaking, the exhibition will refer to the glory days of pastoral culture (18th – 19th c.) and its contemporary condition in a changed economic and cultural situation. By showing various aspects of pastoral life, the exhibition will aim to pay attention to the significance of heritage of pastoral culture not only in particular European countries, but also in many European cultures in general.

The substantive content of the exhibition is based on scientific research regarding pastoral life conducted by researchers representing particular European countries participating in the project CANEPAL:

From Bulgaria - dr Svetla Rakshieva, Simeon Milyov, Vanya Yordanova and Iglika Mishkova (IEFEM, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
From Estonia - Pille Tomson and Kadri Kask (Estonian University of Life Sciences);
From France - Magali Duffau (Ecole du Louvre, Paris; Ecomuseum of Marqueze, Sabres, Landes);
From Greece - Ifigenia Anastasiadi (Panteion University, Athens);
From Hungary - dr Lajos Kemecsi (Hungarian Open Air Museum)
From Poland - dr Małgorzata Maj (Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Jagiellonian University in Cracow);
From Great Britain - Gemma Bell and Simon Bell (Estonian University of Life Sciences);

Scenario of the exhibition

The exhibition shows six thematic aspects of pastoral life in particular countries that participate in the CANEPAL project:

1. Inaccessible world. The first part of the exhibition is dedicated to natural environment which determined development of sheep farming in particular countries. Areas with difficult geographical conditions which were not used for cultivation, were usually assigned for sheep farming. In this part of the exhibition pristine natural environment is presented which in the second part of the exhibition turns into the one that is "touched by human hands".

2. Taming nature. The second part of the exhibition presents nature which was taken into man's possession who by taking sheep into usually inaccessible areas very often had to come face to face with powers of nature and overcome various "evil powers". The beginning of grazing was connected with the beginning of the annual cycle of a shepherd's life which started in spring. In order to guarantee success of grazing, purifying and magical procedures were performed. The return from sheep grazing to villages in autumn gave nature back its "freedom" and allowed shepherds to rest during winter. This part of the exhibition is divided into "Between St. George and St. Michael" and "Into sacrum".

3. Pastoral everyday life. This part of the exhibition presents everyday life of shepherds during summer sheep grazing. The main purpose of this part of the exhibition is to present living conditions of shepherds in huts. Different kinds of huts were presented who were either used as a temporary or a permanent residence. Huts were mostly built from materials which were easily accessible in particular region. The living conditions were usually difficult. Fire was one of the most important elements of pastoral life. It played the protective role which intended to frighten away both evil powers and wild animals. Fire gave possibility to prepare food and was essential for cheese production. It gave warmth to shepherds in severe climatic conditions. Sheep milk and sheep cheese were the main products that were eaten by shepherds during sheep grazing. Thus, this part of the exhibition is divided into three sections: "Shelter", "Holy Fire", and "Food".

4. For warmth and protection. The important part of this exhibition is the presentation of pastoral everyday clothes. Types of pastoral clothes were closely connected with the climate shepherds usually lived in. It also depended on available materials. Mostly these were simple clothes made from leather and sheep wool which protected shepherds against winter and winds. Clothes also symbolized particular group affiliation in a pastoral hierarchy and man's wealth. Typical elements of pastoral clothes were also pastoral canes and bag which were presented during the exhibition.

5. Pastoral activities. Every day of a shepherd was full of many responsibilities that resulted from sheep farming: sheep grazing, animals' watering and feeding, milking, herd's protection. It was regulated by the changeability of a day and night and transitional periods. Certain farming activities were performed at particular times of a day (morning, afternoon, and evening milking). In this part of the exhibition the basic farming activities will be shown which are connected with sheep milk processing and sheep shearing. This part of the exhibition also emphasizes the important role of animals which help shepherds during grazing and protect sheep against predators. This part of the exhibition also portrays forms of communication between shepherds.

6. Pastoral festivity. The last part of the exhibition presents moments when the harsh and difficult pastoral life became colourful during festive days. Therefore, this part of the exhibition shows festive clothes, made from sheep materials that have strong, cheerful colours. In free time, shepherds played on various kinds of instruments such as reed pipes, flutes, danced and sang. Specific forms of pastoral singing and musical culture have been shaped in pastoral culture of particular countries which were portrayed by photos and videos.

There is a specially designed multimedia area in the first part of the exhibition where children and the youth can enjoy and participate in all educational activities that were prepared for them. The educational programme is designed for children and young people of different ages. The game "Where is the little lamb" is dedicated for the youngest children.

Exhibition methods

Various aspects of pastoral life are presented by cultural objects, photos, and videos. These exhibits were borrowed from museums and institutions in Poland and countries participating in the project.

The National Museum of History in Sofia – 15 objects, photos, and videos;
The Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu – 7 objects, photos, and videos;
The Ecomuseum of Marqueze (Landes) – 5 objects, photos;
The University of the Aegean Mytilini-Lesvos – 5 objects, photos;
The Tatra Museum in Zakopane – 84 objects, photos;
The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Cracow – 9 objects;
The Museum Kresów in Lubaczów – 12 objects;
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ludzimierz in Ludzimierz – 1 objects, photos;
The Tatra National Park – photos;
Information Service of the Podhale "Watra" – photo and videos:
TV Podhale – Internet Television from the region of Podhale, Spisz, and Orawa- videos
The Hungarian Open Air Museum in Szentendre – 10 objects, photos, videos.

There were around 140 objects, 72 photos and 12 videos used to prepare this exhibition. Photos were presented on separate charts and a projector whereas videos were displayed on four monitors. In order to present various types of pastoral clothes (everyday and festive clothes) the museum used five mannequins. The museum also used charts with text on them to describe and explain certain parts of the exhibition (27 charts).
Moreover, in the educational multimedia part of the exhibition there were used laptops, books and artistic materials. Last but not least, the exhibition itself was accompanied by the catalogue of the exhibition (143 pages).

The opening of the exhibition

The opening of the exhibition was held on the 19th of May 2013. There were present many representatives of the local authorities: Wiesław Bek, the spokesman of the Marshal of Podkarpackie Voivoidship, Krzysztof Szpyt, the vice-starost of Lubaczów district, and Maria Magoń, the mayor of Lubaczów. The co-ordinator of the project CANEPAL dr Zsolt Sári was also present during the opening of the exhibition (The Hungarian Open Air Museum in Szentedre). During numerous speeches everyone emphasized the meaning of sheep farming regarding culture and economy of particular countries. It was also emphasized what meaning the project CANEPAL has on the popularization of rich pastoral culture and promotion of sheep farming in contemporary societies.

Dr Stanisława Trebunia Staszel from the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow guided all the participants round the exhibition. This known researcher and animator of pastoral culture in Poland presented the most important stages of pastoral life. She spoke using a distinctive highlander dialect. She was accompanied by a singing and dancing group "Młode Podhale" from the Podhale Higher School of Vocational Education in Nowy Targ managed by Paulina Peciak and Daneil Szewczyk. They also gave a special concert where they presented folk dances and pastoral singing of Polish shepherds from the Podhale.

Moreover, there was also a photographic exhibition organised in the main building of the Museum Kresów in Lubaczów. The exhibition was entitled "Sheep farming of the Podhale in old photos" and was prepared from the collection of the Dr Tytus Chołubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane. The exhibition curator is Anna Kozak from the Tatra Museum who after the opening of the exhibition, gave a very interesting lecture on "Cultural grazing in the Tatra National Park" which referred to the current status of sheep farming in the Podhale.

In the evening Piotr Cudzich from Nowy Targ presented the process of sheep cheese production. The audience gathered around the pastoral bonfire "watra" could familiarize themselves with the stages of cheese production in the Podhale. The show was very popular among its participants. It gathered many children and young people.

During the first day in the opening of the exhibition and corresponding events took part around 500 people.



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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

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