At a time when provincial historical sites can often be neglected, this project will foster an intergenerational effort to preserve our nation’s past. Our initiative will help educate, empower and unite the people of the Bulgarian town of Klisura so as to enable them to modernize their most significant source of communal memory – the local museum. Our end goal is to help reinvigorate the Bulgarian museum network through this strategy for increasing Klisura’s prominence on the cultural map.
Klisura, Central Bulgaria
Given its provincial geographic location, Klisura, much like many towns of its kind in Bulgaria, suffers from a dwindling population and a withdrawal of the young. As a result, those who remain have fewer opportunities to maintain an active communal life that unites people from diverse ethnic and age groups. In addition, the museum, the town’s primary source of social memory, is in need of support in order to more proactively fulfill its purpose of unifying those with shared origins. We believe that by reinvigorating the museum we will also mend the generational and interpersonal gaps that are holding back the people of Klisura.
Our strategy will benefit the museum network of Bulgaria, specifically obscure historical sites in rural areas. More concretely, our main target group will be the young people of Klisura as represented by four local candidates (aged between 16 and 25). By sharing the skills that we will help them acquire with the museum’s personnel, they will kick-start a communal conversation on how to best display the town’s impressive heritage to the world in the 21st century. We will aim to invite regional policy-makers and communal leaders to participate in this discussion so that the historical site’s increased future visibility will truly reflect the vision of Klisura’s people. Overall, our idea will strengthen civic bonds between the town’s generations by drawing the youth to its own roots.
We will first purchase and donate two laptops, a video camera and a projector with a presentation screen for the needs of the exhibit’s personnel in early 2022. This will be followed by a selection process for the four young cultural enthusiasts that the museum will spearhead. Meanwhile, PanEuropa Bulgaria will partner with web design and online marketing specialists who will create a new and interactive website for the historical institution. These experts will also travel to Klisura to show our candidates the basics of webpage maintenance and digital communication. This will occur in July 2022 when the volunteers and the professionals will come together for a week at the museum. In August 2022, these newly acquired skills will be passed from the four young people to the curator’s team, with both groups working to build up the museum’s online presence. Finally, in September 2022, we will help the curator host a special event (such as a guest exhibit or a historical lecture). This will allow all participants to test their new web promotion skills as they popularize both the event and the museum’s fresh new image. The event will also involve a public consultative discussion with Klisura’s administration and wider community on the museum’s future. We will conclude by creating a strategy manual detailing our methodology for other similar Bulgarian historical sites to use.
The donated technology and acquired online expertise will allow the museum to assume a more prominent position within the network of historical sites in Bulgaria. The exchange of ideas and skills at the core of our project will increase the dialogue between locals and officials of different generations and will lead to a renewed interest in the organization of cultural events such as the one we plan to put together toward the end of our initiative. Additionally, the selected candidates will gain valuable skills that will allow them to work for the betterment of their own community more effectively in the future. Overall, we envision the museum as a focal point of the regional populace of tomorrow, bringing together disparate groups in celebration of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage.
Our initiative will unite the people of the region around one of the central pillars of their communal life, namely the museum, an embodiment of their shared past. The intensive dialogue and the exchange of expertise will bring this institution into the modern era, making it more visible, accessible and desirable for outside visitors. This in turn will transform Klisura and its museum into a more vibrant, interconnected and prominent Bulgarian town. Furthermore, the engagement of disparate groups within the project will ensure that more people will have a say when it comes to the historical site’s public image. We expect this expanded appreciation for the museum to be shared with others across the community, thus investing and involving many more people in this cultural hotspot’s future.
Our team leader, Stephanie Velichkova, has extensive experience in digital marketing and communications. She has also worked for the reinvigoration of Bulgarian museums through innovative digital solutions as part of NGO initiatives. Peter Bozakov, another member of our management, has familiarized himself with the region surrounding Klisura during his extensive travels around Bulgarian historical sites and has witnessed firsthand the difficulties such places face today. Our third team member, Izabela Lazova, is also well acquainted with the heritage of the Klisura region, having worked as a tour guide in this part of Bulgaria. She also has experience in website promotion and public communications which will be useful when crafting a comprehensive outreach strategy for the project.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. Electronic devices for donation – 3500 EUR
2. Website design and educational course – 9000 EUR
3. Printing and distribution of strategy manual – 3000 EUR
4. Indirect expenses - 3000 EUR
5. Management – 10 000 EUR
6. Popularization of the project and joint event organization – 3000 EUR
We are open to any and all suggestions regarding our project and its potential improvement.