Resolutions

The participants of the  First Congress of Polish Museologists, believing that museums are a commonwealth serving all groups of society and therefore cannot be appropriated by particular political interests, convinced of the need for implementing legislative changes, hereby submit to the representatives of the legislative and executive powers the below resolutions, endeavouring execution of which is committed to by the Congress Program Committee together with the statutory authorities of the Association of Polish Museologists, Polish National Committee of the International Council of Museums ICOM and the Association of Open Air Museums in Poland.

Resolution No. 1
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the essence of the museum, museum collections, the profession of a museologist and the supervisors of museum

The First Congress of Polish Museologists, given the strong consolidation of ideas and the development of the institution of a museum in culture for more than two thousand years, as well as the rich heritage of many generations of Polish museologists working domestically and abroad, hereby proposes to adopt and implement the following rules applicable to legal regulations and social life in Poland:

a) a museum supervisor:

  • regardless of whether it is a government agency (state or local government), a legal entity or an individual, they are responsible for allowing the museum to carry out its mission and protect its brand. The mission of the museum covers primarily protective actions, including collectible, scientific, artistic, educational and social activities.

b) a museum:

  • a public, permanent institution of knowledge and learning, specialized in the protection and care of tangible and intangible heritage of culture and the environment,
  • has custody of the held museum exhibits and develops their collections,
  • plays an important educational and social role in promoting aesthetic and intellectual needs, determines cultural identity, mediates between the interpreted past and the future under creation,
  • complies with the principles of ethics in its operation,
  • special rank and privileges are gained by enlisting in the National Register of Museums.

c) museum collections/exhibits:

  • are a public good, regardless of the organizational status of the museum; it is the responsibility of the supervisor together with the museum management as for a public property,
  • custody of them is financed by the supervisor of the museum and supported by other public institutions, social and business entities and citizens’ movements.

d) museologists:

  • a professional group of public trust directly involved in realisation of the museum mission, undergoing continuous educating process over the entire period of their work in museums, independent of political and commercial pressures, following the principles of knowledge, ethics and utmost care of the collections and entrusted tasks. The essence of the profession is determined by appropriate educational background, experience and high skills. State and local government authorities and the museum supervisor are obliged to support museologists in their work, providing opportunities for education and promotion, adapted to the requirements of various profiles of museums and to ensure decent wages at a level not lower than the national average wage. The highest level of museum profession qualifications are expected of museum directors who are appointed from among persons with sufficient experience of work in a museum or other institutions whose primary activity is in the field of ​​cultural heritage.

Resolution No. 2
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the principles of economic security of a museum

Daily economic security of a museum – is the security of the evidence of our past, which guarantee a sustainable future.

The First Congress of Polish Museologists, aware of the deteriorating level of financing support for Polish museums, which became inadequate for the real needs, and also has steadily decreased for years, calls on the authorities of the state, local government, museum management and their working teams to undertake actions aiming at guaranteeing the economic stability of museums, thus ensuring their durability and the safety of the collections.

The Congress delegates believe that:

  • it is necessary to make the public aware of the value of existence of museums and the benefits of their activities for the development of the state and local communities,
  • article 5, paragraph 4, item 1 of the Act dated 21st November 1996 on museums, as amended, which focuses on the economic security of a museum should be considered as insufficient,
  • further to the above article 5, paragraph 4, item 1 of the Act must be rewritten so that it clearly indicates that the founding bodies have a duty to provide – under an earmarked subsidy and restricted grants – the funds for the maintenance of public museums and appropriate funds for other museums at the level of:
  • a) costs necessary for the implementation of statutory tasks, including in particular the collection and conservation of museum collections as a key resource of national heritage,
  • b) costs of maintenance of movable and immovable property and impairment of fixed assets, caused by its physical wear (depreciation),
  • c) costs arising from the institution operation plans as adopted by the supervisor,
  • d) cost enabling paying decent wage at a level not lower than the national average wage to the persons working for the museum,
    grants should be subject to indexation,
  • reduction of subsidies and grants on a year-to-year basis by more than 1.5% should be legally recognized as threatening the operation of a museum,
  • the amount of the grant or subsidy should be increased with the expansion of the statutory tasks and development of infrastructure of the institutions,
  • a stable and sufficiently high earmarked subsidy, guaranteed for the duration of a contract should be secured by the statutory provisions accompanied by a civil-law contract between the supervisor and director,
  • - emphasis should be placed on the need for development of earmarked funds, created by the state and local governments for specific fulfilled tasks by museums. Priority of the access to these funds should be given to the museums enlisted in the National Register of Museums,
  • an important element of economic security of museums should be friendly system of state tax policy. The system should reduce the tax burden on museums and entities supporting museum activities and be helpful in building around them an environment of patrons and sponsors,
  • economic security of museums should be supported by their own income from statutory activities,
  • the Congress delegates point out that the museums, their management and working teams are also responsible for the financial safety of the institutions,
  • the Congress delegates emphasise that raising funds in the course of own operation of museums should as much as support the economic security of museums,
  • the Congress delegates expressly postulate that the appointment of new museums and other institutions of culture by the supervisors did not limit the level of funding for the existing institutions,
  • the Congress delegates propose that the registered museums acquired the status of a Public Benefit Organization, which would allow them to benefit from the one percent deduction from income tax (PIT).

Resolution No. 3
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the principles of career and scientific progression and the museum staff pay

Competent and decently remunerated museologists as the guarantee of Polish museum development.
The First Congress of Polish Museologists, aware of the challenges faced by the modern museology as well as of the huge liability assumed by the museologists as the national heritage curators, and recognizing that these challenges and duties can only be managed by well prepared, qualified, competent and properly motivated museum staff, proposes that the government, local governments, all the other supervisors of museums and museum management generated environment conducive to the career and scientific progression of the museologists, as well as ensured their decent remuneration.
The Congress delegates believe that for that purpose the following should be performed:
consider the provisions of articles 32 to 34 of the Act dated 21st November 1996 on museums as the insufficient instruments for museum staff competence development and that the law should be supplemented by provisions to facilitate that development and to encourage museum professionals to make the effort associated with the obtaining additional education at Master’s and postgraduate studies and obtaining degrees, as well as by regulations specifying the rules requiring to increase the skills of both museologists and museum executives,
create the conditions in museums and encourage the museologists themselves for better use of their knowledge arising in the context of their work (e.g. directories of collections and exhibitions) as the basis to apply for obtaining degrees,
Establish by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage a scholarship fund for covering the cost of upgrading skills by the museum staff and to finance their foreign internships and study tours in the field of museums and museology,
appeal to the museum supervisors with regards to radical and immediate increase of the level of earmarked subsidies for a one-time increase of employee wages by 30%, and in subsequent years to achieve wages at a level not lower than the average wage in the state,
refer to the Polish Minister of Finance and the museum supervisors an appeal for an immediate abolition of the payroll and supplemental payroll fund limits and restrictions on wage growth in museums, as actions contrary to the public authorities’ expected increase in efficiency of the museum operation and the demands of innovative socio-economic development,
optimize the career path of Polish museum professionals by means of restoration of a position of a senior assistant and senior curator, as well as restoration – according to the principles in force until 2008 – the periods of internship required for all positions employing museologists, and therefore an application should be submitted to the Parliament to make appropriate amendments to the bill introducing the so-called deregulation of the museologist profession,
link professional progress and the academic degrees and titles obtained by the museologists to the increase in wages.

Resolution No. 4
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the need for adopting a coherent policy on the gathering and protection of collections

Properly chosen collections are the strength of a museum and decide on its value to society.

The First Congress of Polish Museologists, aware of the vast value of the collections gathered in the Polish museums for the national culture and for social awareness, but also aware of the huge losses incurred by the Polish cultural heritage resources during the Partitions and the last two world wars, believes that this status can and should be changed for the sake of culture and for promotion of the country.

The Congress delegates believe that for that purpose the following should be performed:

  • Museums must conduct a rational policy of gathering collections that is justified and clearly defined by their mission and principles of ethics as well as the law, a policy that leads to development of valuable collections. Each museum should have their own collection build-up policy developed in a form of a document, approved by the board of the museum and submitted to the supervisor. Requests for purchases complementing the existing collections should be given priority over other requests,
  • supervisors are required to enable the museums they run to execute the policy of building up valuable collections. An instrument to implement this idea should be a new provision of the Act dated 21st November 1996 on museums, specifying mandatory amount of a restricted grant which should be allocated annually by the supervisor for purchase of the museum collections. The Congress delegates recommend that provision of the Act set the amount of the grant at a minimum of 5% of the annual earmarked subsidy granted in public museums or appropriate funds in other museums,
  • changes or additions should be made in the law, especially in the Act of 29th January 2004 Public Procurement Law, which will create conditions, particularly financial ones, for proper and rapid response from the museums to the emerging opportunities of procuring the objects needed for better carrying out of their mission, as well as to upgrade and improve the conservation status of the existing collections,
  • the Congress delegates are pleased to note the existence of the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage assigned for the development of museum collections. Actions undertaken in this direction should be to consistently continued and the principles of the fund operation disseminated, introducing the principles of intervention purchases into them,
  • to conduct the policy of gathering collections in museums it is necessary to amend the provisions of the Act dated 21st November 1996 on museums, which will clarify the principles for deaccession of exhibits,
  • The Congress delegates note the disparity between the quantity of exhibits stored in the Polish museums and the museum space and storage technical standards, which are available to the museums. The delegates urge the supervisors to allocate appropriate funds for systematic and systemic modernization and development of storage facilities.

Resolution No. 5
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the need of support from state institutions for the digitization process of the Polish museums and collections and social sharing the results of digitization

The delegates of the first Congress of Polish Museologists call upon all Polish public authorities to take into account the following recommendations:

  • public sharing digital images of museum collections along with metadata should be a financial priority in the long-term operational programs and socio-economic development programs of state and local government,
  • it is necessary to strengthen in the process of digitization the existing organizational and legal instruments, taking care of the legal aspects of intellectual property and combining the inter-sector activities in this area,
  • it is necessary to adopt a general assumption that the effects of the digitizing projects executed by museums are made available, and their beneficiaries are obliged to exchange experiences,
  • it is necessary to increase the availability of cultural resources collected in Polish museums, to improve the quality of documentation of the collections as well as long-term securing of digital content produced during the process of digitization,
  • there is a need to undertake work on integrating the access to digital museum collections and the need to conserve the acquired digital content,
  • it is necessary to clarify the provisions of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage dated 30th August 2004 on the scope, form and manner of inventorying historical objects in museums in terms of admission of conducting digital documentation of accession,
  • it is necessary to expand the existing training offer addressed to the whole museum environment, covering all issues relating to the issues of digitization of collections and museum resources, with particular emphasis on legal and ownership issues and provenance research.

Resolution No. 6
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on the need to develop policies to support the museum tasks by social organizations and individuals acting in their environment

A museum is an institution of the common good.

The First Congress of Polish Museologists states that the tradition of Polish civic culture is:

  • responsibility for establishment, prosocial operation and development of museums,
  • concern for national heritage,
  • formation of patriotic attitudes for which a significant substantive base have been and should continue to be primarily the museum institutions and the collections in their custody.

A museum is an institution of the common good. A gesture of gift and social generosity lies at its genesis. Also in the present time a museum should express that ideal of community life in its activity. So understood common good is shaped by humanistic values which constitute the community ties and civic culture standards.

Social generosity and creativity as the factors that contribute to the constitution of a museum require appropriate systemic conditions both at the level of the museum institution, as well as at all the levels of cultural policy implementation by the public authorities of the Republic of Poland. This applies to both the appropriate action from the government and from the individual units of local authorities.

Involvement of individuals or social organizations into the social work system of a museum is associated with the need to adapt to the needs of museums and museum sector the volunteer institutions and implementation of new instruments and methods for cross-sectorial management, used in relations with the social and private entities (social partnership, public-private partnership).

The Congress delegates believe that for that purpose the following should be performed:

  • a program that directly promotes pro-museum social activities must be created within the programs of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage,
  • in relation to the social organizations that integrate museologists or museums for social work for the development of the museum sector, a program of professional and museum-related self-government development should be created within the programs of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. It could assist in strengthening e.g. professional activity and scientific creativity of the museologists and social entrepreneurship of museums,
  • the systemic participation of social organizations representing museums and museologists should be further developed in order to strengthen their authority in the evaluation and development of the strategy to protect national heritage, legal regulations concerning museums and participation in the process of selection of the management of museums,
  • the Congress delegates urge the public media to inform the public on the activities of registered museums in an extent greater and thus to fulfil the public mission which is their statutory duty.

Resolution No. 7
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

the museum collections that are lost and displaced within the borders of contemporary Poland

Restitution of looted museum collections and provenance research of the displaced collections – a common and never expiring obligation of the Polish State and Polish museologists.

The First Congress of Polish Museologists – taking into account the consequences suffered to date in museums and which are the cause of many of their current problems – of deliberate destruction, looting, pillage and displacement of entire collections and individual exhibits by the occupiers and their still unfinished restitution from beyond the borders of the Republic of Poland, as well as the disintegration and displacement of museum collections in Poland, including from the museums of the territories attached to Poland after WWII – points to the necessity to take any action possible that will reverse or minimize the effects of the resulting losses.

The Congress delegates believe that for that purpose the following should be performed:

  • acknowledgement should be expressed for the actions of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which in recent years have brought significant and measurable effects in the process of restitution of Polish collections,
  • support should be provided for the continuation of the current activities of the government and government agencies to search and restitution of collections and appeal for the optimization of these activities,
  • museologists and museums should be require to conduct and publicize the results of provenance research, in particular those concerning the manner of acquisition of exhibits,
  • the supervisors, museum managements and museologists should be called to act in good faith and according to the best practices when merging historical museum collections, including to finance adequate research, documentation and knowledge exchange.

Resolution No. 8
of the First Congress of Polish Museologists

on museum collections developed in whole or in part after 1944 as a result of land reform and the nationalization of land property

Relief for victims of nationalization is the prerequisite for stabilisation of the ownership status of historical collections, preserving their integrity and public availability.

The First Congress of Polish Museologists acknowledges the sense of injury in individuals and their heirs affected by the land property nationalization conducted from 1944 by a decree of 6th September 1944 on Agrarian Reform. The nationalization was carried out in violation of the title to collections and movable heritage, which were often personal family memorabilia and national legacy. The First Congress of Polish Museologists, while recognizing the dedication of museologists to save the historical items during the war and the restoration and protection in the political, social and economic circumstances imposed in the post-war Poland, emphasizes the social benefits of their making available in museums and underlines the need for ultimate clarification of their ownership status in order to stabilize the conditions for exercising the public mission of museums.

The Congress delegates believe that for that purpose the following should be performed:

  • note that the lack of statutory regulation of the effects of the acquisition of historical items and their collections – the property of individuals (natural or legal) – by the Treasury as part of the nationalization of land property is of an adverse effect on the stability of the conditions for statutory and program operation of the museums currently holding them under custody,
  • advocate that the Polish government considers establishing a national program of research and legal service for the issues of claims against museums, concerning to historical objects and collections of individuals as acquired under the nationalization of land property,
  • call the Polish museologists for a debate conclusions of which should be considered by the Polish government, on how to regulate the effects of the State Treasury’s acquisition of the historical objects and collections of individuals from the land properties nationalized in 1944 and later, with particular emphasis on the proposal of preserving the integrity of the historical collections located in museums.