ICOM International Conference
Theme: "Heritage Interpretation: the Power of Storytelling in Museums"
Date: June 27 – 29th, 2019

Locations: The State Hermitage Museum, Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum, St Isaac's Cathedral State Museum


Organized by
ICOM National Committee Austria, ICOM National Committee Russian Federation, ICOM National Committee Czech Republic, ICOM National Committee Slovakia, ICOM National Committee Switzerland


The conference will discuss how  museums are aiming to benefit society, as they are cultural hubs invigorating communities at a local but also international level. As cultural storytellers, museums can be powerful agents of change, but to do so, we need to tell inclusive stories that break through the barriers that divide us. Often if different perspectives are brought together, the acceptance of this contested history is the first step for promoting peaceful relationships between people. Museums can encourage this process and are playing an active role in addressing traumatic histories or controversial topics. So what are the keys to creating the inclusive museum? What kind of new perspective or awareness should be conveyed to the visitors? What stories should be told and who is telling them?

Preliminary Program


June 26, 2019, Wednesday


Arrival of participants, check-in at the hotel
18:00 - 21:00 - cultural programme / excursion to St Isaac's Cathedral State Museum


June 27, 2019, Thursday


09:30 - 10:30 - Registration of participants


10:30 - 11:00 - Opening ceremony of the conference


11:00 - 14:00 - PLENARY SESSION: “The Role of Storytelling in Building Dialogue between
Museums and Audiences”


11:00 - 11:15 Introductory words of the moderator Dmitry Bak, Director of the Vladimir Dahl Russian
State Literary Museum




11:15 - 11:45 Dr. Danielle Spera, President of ICOM Austria & Director of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, AUSTRIA


11:45 - 12:15 Mgr. Martina Lehmannová, Director Lidice Memorial & President of ICOM Czech Republic, CZECH REPUBLIC
“Storytelling in Lidice memorial”


12:15 - 12:45 - coffee-break


12:45 - 13:15 - Viktor Shalay, ICOM Russia Board member, Director of the V.K. Arseniev, Primorsky State Associated Museum, RUSSIA


13:15 - 13:45 - Dmitry Bak, Director of the Vladimir Dahl Russian State Literary Museum, RUSSIA


13:45 - 14:00 - panel discussion


14:00 - 15:30 - lunch


15:30 - 18:00 - THEMATIC SESSION 1: “Revealing hidden histories of various social groups and neglected heritage”


15:30 - 15:45 Introductory words of the moderator Olga Sinitsyna, Board Member of Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, International expert in museum and library development, Russia




15:45 - 16:15 Claudia Haas, Haas: consult, Consultant for Museums and Cultural Institutions & Elisabeth Menasse-Wiesbauer, Director of ZOOM Children’s Museum in Vienna, AUSTRIA
“Children’s Museums are pioneers’ ins Storytelling” (М)


16:15 - 16:45 Mgr. Petr Nekuža , Curator of Fine Mechanics Collection (Mechanical Music Parlour), Head of Science and Technology Documentation Department, Technical Museum Brno, Czech Republic, CZECH REPUBLIC
“Stories of Objects in Technical Museum Brno”


16:45 - 17:15 Sergey Kamensky, Museum of the History of Yekaterinburg, RUSSIA


17:15 - 17:45 Sylvia Mader, Serfaus Parish Museum, AUSTRIA
“The Coffin of Serfaus - a museum object that cannot rid itself of its history”


17:45 - 18:15 TBD


18:15 - 18:30 - panel discussion


18:30 - cultural programme / excursion at the State Hermitage Museum


June 28, 2019, Friday


10:00 - 14:00 THEMATIC SESSION 2: “Interpreting dissonant heritage: museums as mediators in the public space”


10:00 - 10:15 Introductory words of the moderator Mikhail Gnedovskiy , ICOM Russia Board Member, Chief Analyst at the Moscow Agency for Recreation and Tourism, Russia


10:15 - 10:45 Dr. Christoph Bazil, Federal Chancellery of Austria, Director, Department for Cultural Heritage and Art Restitution; Dr. Heinz Schödl, Federal Chancellery of Austria, Federal Office for Monuments, AUSTRIA
“The Austrian Art Restitution Law and the Commission for Provenance Research. How to tell about Nazi-lootings, a case study on 20 years ”


10:45 - 11:15 Roman Romanov, GULAG History State Museum, Director, RUSSIA


11:15 - 11:45 Zuzana Šidlíková, PhD., Slovak Design Museum, SLOVAKIA
“Storytelling of Fashion from the Socialism”


11:45 - 12:15 Marina Sokolovskaya, Head of the Exposition and Exhibition Department, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Museum at Yeltsin Center, Director, RUSSIA
“Boris Yeltsin Museum: the nineties as a legacy and as the present”


12:15 - 12:45 - coffee-break


12:45 - 13:15 - Natalia Kopelyanskaya, coordinator of international projects at Vassily Polenov State Fine Arts Museum and National Park, RUSSIA
Project "37/101": providing access to museum archive and heritage of Polenovo museum


13:15 - 13:45 - TBD


13:45 - 14:00 - panel discussion


14:00 - 15:30 - lunch


15:30 - 18:00 THEMATIC SESSION 3: “Relevant storytelling about the contemporary heritage”


15:30 - 15:45 Introductory words of the moderator




15:45 - 16:15 Zuzana Koblišková, Slovak National Gallery, SLOVAKIA
“1989-2019 The Velvet Revoltion & #AllForJan”


16:15 - 16:45 Sibylle Lichtensteiger, Stapferhaus in Lenzburg, SWITZERLAND
“The Stapferhaus and the "FAKE" exhibition. A cultural institution is changing into an "Office for the
Whole Truth"


16:45 - 17:15 Otto Hochreiter, Director of the GrazMuseum, AUSTRIA
“The Fiction of Narrative”


17:15 - 17:45 Zdeněk Freisleben. CZECH REPUBLIC
“Problems how to exhibit contents of books in literary museums”


17:45 - 18:15 Elizaveta Fokina, Director of the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve, RUSSIA


18:15 - 18:30 panel discussion


18:30 - cultural programme


June 29, 2019, Saturday - Excursion Day


09:00 - Departure to the State Museum-Reserve "Gatchina"
10:30 - 13:00 - Excursion in the State Museum-Reserve "Gatchina"
13:00 - 14:00 - lunch
14:30 - Departure to St. Petersburg
Evening - departure of participants