During the month of August, seven motivated students spent their summer days exploring the hidden treasures of the Regional Historical Museum in Blagoevgrad. Kalina Grancharova, Velizara Stanoeva, Kristiyan Nachev, Sofia Drenkova, Dimitar Donev, Hristian Yankulov, and Lina Chakarova together with the managing director and creator of the “A Month in the Museum” program – alumna Tsvetana Haydushka (’20), set out to tackle the challenges concerning the modernization of the museum.
The program’s interns devised presentations and workshops with the final aim of developing a sustainable strategy for the museum. The students – all different majors and standings at AUBG — were able to look at the work from different perspectives and come up with diverse project proposals.
“The program motivates students to get out of their comfort zone and try something that they aren’t used to,” said the youngest participant in the program Kalina Grancharova, who has just started her first year at AUBG.
“Dive into the antique world and find more about your ancestors, enrich your culture! The collision between a youngster and the museum is an entertaining process as we all already know from our own experience. It is astonishing!”
During the four weeks, each day was dedicated to a specific section of the museum and students got a chance to find out what they are most interested in and focus their efforts on it. For two of the students – Velizara Stanoeva and Sofia Drenkova this happened to be the ethnography department, and they came up with the idea to create a video production that presents the different traditional costumes throughout the years.
At the end of the month, the students could boast about many accomplishments, including a series of articles that present the museum staff, a prototype of an interactive museum map, a marketing strategy, and complementary QR codes with audio and text for some of the exhibits. The students also got to enjoy a trip to Plovdiv, where they visited the Great Basilica and the Regional Natural History Museum.
The program concluded with a closing event, during which a group of foreign participants took part in a “Treasure Hunt” around the museum that was organized by the interns. The AUBG students then held a discussion about their experience in the museum. AUBG President David Evans was present at the event to congratulate the students for a job well done.
“’The Month in the Museum’ inspired me to create,” Lina said. “The atmosphere at the museum and within the team provided the environment to do so. To be honest, as the President said today, after a year and a half of misfortune [due to COVID-19], this program is like a ray of sunshine.”
Even though the program has officially ended, the students are still engaged and helping in the organization of the museum’s recent events – including the Night of the Museums and the Night of the Bats. On Oct.5, Dimitar, Hristian, and Kristiyan took part in the flag parade, dedicated to the Liberation Day of Blagoevgrad.
“The program helped me see my value in being an AUBG student and my responsibility of engaging with my community to make this a better place,” Hristian said.
“I strive to continue my involvement with the museum into the academic year, and even into next summer if a similar program arises in the future. I would love to encourage more students to get involved with this hidden treasure of a cultural institution, and with the Blagoevgrad community as a whole.”
What does the future hold? The museum will surely continue to attract our curiosity with its unexplored corners and hidden treasures. The only thing we have to do is dare to wipe off the dust and let the stories take over.