The ability to remain competitive
Our world is changing. Time spent living becomes the most important investment. And the most important desire. Next in line is the time offered to the other and to the family, running in sync with the time allotted to one’s profession. Everything will revolve around this equation: time for living and time for working. The desired outcome is the achievement of inner balance and the continuous opening to the outside. It will soon become a reality that transcends age, cultural spaces, gender or confession.
How can an institution develop within this changed life equation? Any institution can adapt, with regard to the power of change of the people living and working with it. Social and professional envelopes outside any institutional entity form the community we call generic Bucharest.
I will now talk about the institution and the community.
Starting with March and following the changes that take place in the social environment, the Bucharest Municipality Museum is facing a dramatic shift in public interest for cultural consumption in the classical manner, as the changes in the social environment will continue to be under way in the next years.
In the argument of this new reality, we have made comparative analyzes between 2014 and 2020, for the same time points. Since March, cultural behavior has collapsed dramatically, with the entries in the museum units of the Bucharest Municipality Museum being between 70 and 90% lower than the previous year. To track the comparative situation, see a graphic for the physical presence and another chart, for the online presence of visitors – https://imgur.com/a/RzJNA6i).
As our museum’s programs did not decrease, but were very dynamic on-line and kept the pace of previous years (no less than 7 exhibitions were inaugurated in July 2020!), reality certifies behavioral changes on many social layers.
All cultural and leisure institutions will have to change in different intimate springs, otherwise they will have every chance of vanishing or becoming obsolete and even useless.
The Bucharest Municipality Museum has acquired the first possibility of keeping the public loyal in the online environment, which is certainly not something new; but the novelty is hidden elsewhere and we sought to outline it in real time.
The online environment managed by MMB covers the entire variety of cultural consumption topics on the website, Facebook (15 pages with different profile), and Instagram (with 4 different pages). At this time all the products offered (conferences, documentary films, digitized collection films, podcasts, digitized specialist journals, concerts, online exhibitions and virtual tours) are free of charge and will remain so.
The difference is that the information must be highly specialized, otherwise the interest disappears. In the sense that the public interest in the present moment has changed and turned to professional reconfiguration, and especially to reconfiguration of the remaining leisure time, which will diminish more and more, even if work is going to be also remote!
The public tends to have other expectations, with long-term, distant prospects, even for several years, geared toward new professions, and information needs to be valuable and non-commercial. Hence, the number of more than one million frequent readers, a figure maintained since May 2020 (see the Article Star(t) in online published on the MMB website and in the June edition of Contemporanul magazine – http://muzeulbucurestiului.ro/muzeul-bucurestiului-start-in-online/). From the classical perspective of its operation, the museum has to preserve, protect, research (restoration included here) and exploit the cultural heritage. The difference with the not very distant past is that this heritage will have to be offered now to the consumer public via real specialized information (and not reconfigurations of older narrative messages), coupled with a holistic perspective, involving joint research teams, which would provide the full picture of a social, economic, anthropological, cultural phenomenon, started in the past and now in progress.
The adding of a prognosis is very important for adapting cultural discourse, which attracts the public’s interest regardless of age, social or professional status. Regardless of gender, cultural area or denomination.
The relationship between the past, the present deploying and the prognosis as narrative lecture, including heritage pieces as the final argument, represents the midterm adapting method of a museum or cultural institution.
The reality within the institution, however, reflects the reality of the broad social spectrum in the community. First of all there is a small, dynamic team with the ability to adapt to any level of professional project, and we are lucky to have it. It was built in the last five years! There are those who know how to write and speak coherently from within the profession and their skills, who do not fear an interview or live broadcast, audio or TV, and who are fluently speaking a foreign language. This team will have to be enlarged and the near future will require it.
A higher percentage follows, which supports this dynamic mechanism by working to improve its working situation, in good faith and of good character, with respect for contractual obligations and relations of good fellowship.
But there is a toxic third, aggressive when it comes to change and the smooth functioning of things, unable to adapt, undesirable to do practically nothing. Legal instruments to improve this situation do not exist at the moment.
However, change will come from outside. It will be a decisive pressure factor, because the professional expertise of active generations in the community will ultimately impose direction, determine the speed of change and ultimately influence social change. And change in institutions of any kind.
The pressure factor I speak about is the community we call generic Bucharest. A community that is more and more attentive to creativity and the good character, and not indifferent to the lazy people. And to this community, a member of which I have been for more than 50 years, I would say now something that I also recommended to my bona fide colleagues:
To prepare for the inherent change of social and professional springs, and to help every team eager to work and fight for positive, it is very necessary to oxygenate the atmosphere around you, otherwise you will not be able to work or evolve. As a result:
- Remove the gossips around you and ignore the verbal or physical toxic attitudes! It doesn’t help, it’s useless and it diverts your work and attention.
- Try to build a work team around you as far as possible, even if there are large training gaps between team members. What must prevail is the good character and goodwill toward work. Keep the professional distance from those who systematically refuse this way of live & work, and do not enter into unnecessary polemics! There are also defense instruments. But don’t be indifferent!
- Help every desire for change and reach out to any person close to you who needs support to understand change and to adapt. Often the one who asks for your support can be from a different generation, younger or older.
We need to reconsider the professional nature of each of us and strengthen the team/ community, through a relatively balanced number of real skills, in order to form the critical mass; otherwise we will not resist the changes. Because these changes described above come with long periods of underfunding, which means that we must be fully aware that the times will be very difficult and the money will always remain scarce. What will save us is the ability to remain competitive.
For plants and animals life goes on by repeating what is valid, but for Man and humanity life can only continue through continuous creation.
Who does not grow in fact shrinks. Who does not go forward goes backwards. And who does not overcome is overcome.
Dr. Adrian Majuru
Manager of the Bucharest Municipality Museum
CONTACT: Cal. Victoriei nr.151, Bucuresti