The Museum of Bećarac Interpretation Center in Pleternica opens its doors to visitors
- by croatiaweek
- in Entertainment
Muze / Muses, an all-female collective of experts in museology and heritage interpretation, design a museum exhibition that extensively documents and interprets a heritage phenomenon and the people inextricably linked to it
What is special about intangible heritage is that it exists as long as there are people who live it and pass it on from one generation to another.
The Museum of Bećarac thus becomes a living medium that transmits their voices, at the same time enabling every visitor to find their own personal path and get initiated into the world of bećars and bećarušas.
The fact that bećarac was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011 speaks volumes of the importance of this traditional vocal-instrumental song. This encouraged the project holder, the Town of Pleternica, to take a visionary approach to protecting the Museum of Bećarac and provide all the prerequisites for the professional and creative contribution of many actors who have participated in the realization of their vision.
The Museum of Bećarac is located in one of the few buildings in Croatia designed specifically for the purpose of a museum exhibition, authored by the architecture studio Rusan arhitektura. It conveys the experience of bećarac through encounters with its representatives – Šokci and Šokice.
Muze / Muses —an all-female collective of experts in museology, heritage interpretation and cultural tourism—have used extensive museological documentation to set the main topics and media. The engagement of Muze / Muses / Muses in the Museum of Bećarac project spanned a period of eight years, and included the design of management plans.
“Through the permanent exhibition, we strive to convey the love for the bećarac and its tradition to all visitors, and at the same time invite them to a fun exploration of their traditions and heritage identities, and the environments they come from. The intimate stories of bećars and bećarušas in the permanent exhibition reveal to the visitors their personal stories about bećarac and Šokadija, and the interactive exhibits offer everyone the opportunity to connect with the rich content of the exhibition in their own way. Thus, visitors can experience real bećarac sing-offs and cheer them on or witness a unique duel between bećar Pavo and the famous Slavonian rapper Kandžija. There is a singing studio, where they can sing bećarac songs, test their knowledge by taking some of many interactive quizzes, or communicate with a bećaruša robot, who challenges visitors to test the creative power of artificial intelligence. Another special experience is exploring the Bećarac Hall of Fame, which includes Vera Svoboda, Marija Pavković – Snaša, Krunoslav Kićo Slabinac, Šima Jovanovac, Zlatko Bourek and the most famous literary and film bećar – Đuka Begović. The Museum of Bećarac’s contribution to the scientific and professional community is the basis for the long-term preservation of the authenticity of bećarac’s heritage and Slavonian customs through synergistic action and partnerships,” pointed out Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, the director of Muze / Muses.
The museum exhibition was designed in intensive collaboration with the local community and through an interdisciplinary team process. In addition to Muze / Muses, the design was co-authored by the Šesnić&Turković Studio and Clinica Studio. The implementation was managed by the company AVC, and the multimedia experiences were produced by the companies Divit and Eltel.
Mirna Draženović, the creative director of Muze / Muses and the main expert for museology and content development in the process of implementing the permanent exhibition, gathered a great team of collaborators from various creative and artistic fields. Some of the collaborators were the production companies FADE-in and RESTART, great illustrators, photographers, sculptors and animators Mislav Lešić, Manuel Šumberac, Dragan Kordić, Dijana Mataković, Petra Slobodnjak, Janko Petrović and Stjepko Galović (Kandžija).
“The messages and values of the museological conception were translated into a three-dimensional experience through superior spatial, graphic and multimedia design, and the teamwork of top professionals created a unique environment that harmoniously blends the contributions of the authorial and production team, which includes over 200 different collaborators and performers, individuals, institutions, companies and associations. The development of content, in terms of collection of objects, production of audio and video content, photographs, illustrations and sculptural works, is carefully curated and results from a strong museological conception and design solutions,” stated the creative director of Muze / Muses, Mirna Draženović.
The process of developing the content also included intensive collaboration with numerous restorers. Over 200 items collected from all parts of Šokadija, even from Hungary, have been restored and expertly prepared for display. Close collaboration was achieved with more than 20 cultural and artistic societies and numerous prominent individuals from local communities. When it comes to collaboration with the local bearers of the heritage of bećarac, the contribution of our professional associate Marija Gačić, an excellent ethnologist and a passionate bećaruša dedicated to preserving the heart of Šokadija, was crucial.
National institutions also contributed to the permanent museum exhibition by donating a variety of video and audio material: Zagreb film, Croatian National Television, Nova TV, Service for the Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights (ZAMP), Vinkovačka TV and Croatia Records.
The production of content included collecting and translating into English over 400 bećarac songs, the production of 50 video recordings, making over 200 illustrations and photographs, and collecting 200 original museum exhibits in just a few months. All this points to the fact that this is one of the most comprehensive implementations of permanent museum exhibitions in Croatia and a unique permanent exhibition that extensively documents and interprets a heritage phenomenon and the people who are inextricably linked to it.
The Museum of Bećarac is the path to the heart of Slavonia. Its exhibitions and numerous programs will introduce you to and help you experience the people and the customs that will permanently inspire you.
Check out the behind the scenes video below.