me, myself & andrei

18 May 2008
Night of the Museums Bucharest'08

Most of you would imagine that the Night of the Museums (ro. Noaptea Muzeelor) is an unique event, a moment when those interested, experienced or new-comers, from all the layers of the society forget about everything else and put all their energy into.. art, history, or altogether beautiful things.

But free-things are always underestimated or overestimated, depending on which perspective you take. Here’s a story about the underestimation and overestimation of Bucharest’s Night of the Museums - May 17-18, 2008.

Like any human-being that has heard of the Internet, you start your search there in order to find the basic information that the main mass-media institutions fail to give. Just as an example RealitateaTV (pre-news deleted; post-news 90% exact), Cotidianul and Adevărul. To sum up, the information was (or wasn’t):

  1. There’s a bus line going from each museum to the other, each 20 minutes, but nothing about where it actually stops.
  2. List of museums, generally open from 23.00 til 3.00
  3. Some of the special events taking place at some of them, but without specific hours.
  4. Get a free-gift if you show tickets from 8 museums.

The reality was this:

  1. The bus was hardly coping with the number of visitors, and they were lucky because it was a nice night and many people were walking from museum to museum.
  2. Museum closed earlier, even though the number of visitors was highly underestimated.
  3. The timetable was available at a certain website muzee.org, which was advertised no-where. Or you would get it at each museum, that is if you managed to get into one.
  4. The free-gift was a T-shirt that was given for only 3 museum tickets, because it was virtually impossible to have 8 museum tickets.

For no reason of posting it, this (on the right) was the programme that many of the visitors (I would say up to 95%) weren’t aware of.

How I ended up on muzee.org? Well, Ana searched for “traseu ratb noaptea muzeelor” on Google (~”busline night of the museums”). No, no.. this didn’t take us to the main website, but to a blog: article 1, article 2 and article 3. And only then we ended up on the main website of the event!

Anyway, let’s go to the real event and leave out the preparations.

During the event, no street was closed for traffic, although the main museums were mostly on one street: Calea Victoriei.

At around 22.00 people were like a big herd everywhere, especially near the museums which had a “prestigious” name, just for posterity.

The Astronomical Observatory was closed, of course. Strategy I guess, though not marketing strategy. It wasn’t on the list, but it was obvious people would like to go there as well.

Although on the “famous timetable” it says that the bus is not going to stop any longer for closed museums.. do you think the bus drivers knew which museum is closed or open?! This is how we ended up at Cotroceni National Museum only to find a printed paper with “Museum has closed at midnight. It will be open again tomorrow at 8 in the morning.” reinforced by a big-belly man yelling he cannot do anything and assuring us that it will open in 7 more hours (it was around 1.00) as if he was talking about 7 more minutes!!

Anyway, we headed slowly for some snacks and drinks, and then to the Military National Museum, only to find half of it open: the aviation side. By the time we ended the tour (at 1.45) the security forces were already blocking the entrance, saying it is closed.

The same incident seems to have happened at the Romanian National Museum of Art, where a guy actually started a protest and soon got beat up and put in a van - comment on realitatea.net:

Foarte interesanta initiativa, numai ca pe la 2:30 in fata MNAR jandarmii de la poarta spuneau ca muzeul s-a inchis. Toti fluturasii distribuiti pe pe la muzee in seara aceasta spuneau ca MNAR e deschis pana la 5 dimineata. Era un tanar in fata mea care protesta in fata portii. L-au luat jandarmii dincolo de poarta si l-au batut in vazul tuturor - oamenii asistau neputiinciosi. Nu stiu ce s-a intamplat cu tanarul dupa aceea, a fost bagat intr-o dubita si dus mai incolo.

And that was it.. we basically managed to visit just the Museum of Art Collections and that aviation side of the Military National Museum. And we managed a very nice but long walk.

And we were supposed to visit Cotroceni National Museum today (it is not open on a regular basis, but only when the President allows). The President has an open-day there as a way to remind of the event that took place one year ago when the Parliament wanted him out of the Presidency Office, yet the people voted in high percentage for his stay, during an impeachment referendum.

Yet, this is how it looked there today (May 18, 2008):
[realitatea 200805/video_121110248235691200_3.flv]

The best of the best, in a very stable (stable = stupid masses are easy to coordinate) European Union.


Andrei