On monday the 25 year anniversary for the international network surrounding economuseums - Craftspeople in action - was celebrated in Bergen. 75 representatives from 30 economuseums in Canada and Northern Europe participated in the celebrations that stretched over 5 days on the West coast.
Text: Bjarte Brask Eriksen (Hordaland Fylkeskommune) and Anne Tollerud (Norges Vel) photo: Bjarte Brask Eriksen
An economuseum is a concept where old traditional crafts get new life through exhibits where you can see the craft in action and buy the product.
Hordaland fylkeskommune started it all
- We are proud that Norges Vel's Vestlandskontor has the honour of arranging the 25 year anniversary for the international network. After all, it was in Hordaland that the Norwegian and European network started, and Hordaland fylkeskommune can be proud of the work they have done to establish and develop this marvellous concept. Says Kari Klausen, head of development at Norges Vel.
- It is exciting that Hordalang fylkeskommune has been part of getting this off the ground. We have been working with partners on the economuseum project since the start in 2008, until Norges Vel took over in 2014. I have learned that economuseums combine culture, craft and tourism. They practise traditional and mordern techniques so that the craft stays alive and create new places of employment. It is fantastic that the west coast will soon have 14 economuseums, says Beate Husa (pictured below), leader of culture, sports and regional development.
A strong network that transcends borders
- We can celebrate 25 years for the economuseum network, 10 years for the first economuseum in Europe and Norway and 5 years since the first international conference. We have throughout these years created a strong network. We have over 98 economuseums in Canada and Northern Europe. We have educated young craftspeople across country boarders, and tourists ask for this. The key is that the craftspeople meet and develop products in collaboration, says Carl-Éric Guertin, from Canada, who is the general manager of the economuseum network. Pictured below is Guertin and Kari Clausen who is head of development at Norges Vel.
Brought the concept to Europe and Norway
- It is thanks to project leader Terje Inderhaug in Hordaland fylkeskommune that have economuseums in Norway and Europe. He came to Canada thought about the idea and took the concept with him to Europe. Says Carl-Éric Guertin
- Hordaland fylkeskommune has been the most effective with establishing economuseums. We are the cornerstone in Europe. We are expanding and constantly receiving applications from all over the country. Right now we are working on two projects in Møre og Romsdal that will open in November this year and March next year. We have a third candidate in Møre ig Romsdal, says Terje Inderhaug who was project leader in Hordaland fylkeskommune and is now involved in Norges Vel.
During the 25 year anniversary, Terje Inderhaug received Norges Vel's ildsjelpris (fiery soul award) for his burning dedication to economuseums. Director of development Kari Clausen of Norges Vel handed over the glass sculpture, made by Nico Widerberg.
Wishes to establish a country wide network
- Norges Vel's goal is to continue developing the economuseum concept to a strong country wide network of innovative crafts businesses that can contribute to the local business development and employment through the conservation of Norwegian cultural heritage. We there have a goal to establish a permanent country wide organisation, and have applied for governmental financing to secure existing and develop new economuseums in Norway, says Kari Clausen.
Economuseums in Canada and Europe