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“MAA for all, all to the MAA”

Every year, Balkan Museum Network launches a call to fund small projects implemented by museums across the Balkans. One of the five museums supported in 2015 was the Museum of African Art from Belgrade, with the project “MAA for all, all to the MAA – a special program for elderly”. The project was improving the museum facilities by installing mobile structures for safe movement through the museum – mobile ramps and handrails for elderly and people with limited mobility. This created opportunities to work on making new audience which can actively participate in the museum activities, improving the quality of life of the elderly and raising the awareness of elderly public about need for their involvement in cultural and social life.

The project was attended by residents from four nursing homes for the elderly: Gerontology centers Bežanijska kosa, Karaburma, Voždovac and Staciona, and one working unit of day care centers and clubs.

MAA curators and volunteers visited nursing homes and retirement associations to give lectures and creative workshops for their residents. They presented a specially designed program, encouraging inclusion through creative workshops and other museum activities that were to be organized once a month with free admission in the Museum of African Art.

Initially, there was a poor interest from participants to get involved in Museum pogrammes. But, active interaction and creative workshops have resulted with a great desire from participants to engage in museum activities offered to them for the next year.

„Elderly people learned a lot about how modeling clay in traditional techniques can make it in the desired shape/object. They learned how different containers of ceramics are used in Africa, what kind of decorations they had and why.“, said Milica Josimov from the Museum of African Art who coordinated the project „MAA for all, all to the MAA”.

The opinion of project participants has changed because of the good experiences they have gained from visiting the Museum.

„The project „MAA for all, all to the MAA“ brought the possibility of new creative expression in my everyday life. By profession I am a journalist, but this project certainly affected me and my interest for the museum. If I had an opportunity to participate in a program of the museum, I have ideas. Various workshops such as the one that was organized at the home for elderly Bežanijska kosa. You should be implementing them with the embassies of African countries, to organize workshops and lectures about some part of Africa. Production of various souvenirs from natural materials such as wood. Musical performances with a program of traditional African music. Writing memories of the area and impressions of Africa.“, said Jovanović Marko, Home for elderly Bežanijska kosa.

In 2016, Museum of African Art will organize monthly event with different topics and creative workshops for senior population.