In connection with the new course on the European integration of Moldova there was planned an attempt to concord the priorities of the cultural sector with the strategies of the European Union. The National Strategy in the field of culture for 2013-2020, that should become the main policy document promoting the development of the cultural sphere in the contemporary socio – economic conditions, is at the final stage of its elaboration. Due to the implementation of the Strategy the culture should become a viable sector that will be able to have a significant impact not only on the social, but also on the economic life of our country. One of the most important priorities of this strategy is to further develop the sector of cultural heritage and museums.
The National Committee ICOM Moldova is an active participant in this integration process and since 2010 is suggesting a range of initiatives and projects in the museum field. In connection with the development of the new museum policy the International seminar on museum marketing which took place in September 11-to1 4,2013 with the financial support of the International Council of the Museums and National History Museum of Moldova becomes particularly relevant.
At this new stage it is extremely important for the museums to declare themselves as cultural and scientific-educational centers with a wide access to the collections and scientific research. The museums should become not only places for preserving the collections but also modern centers for dialogue and development of the individuality, a means to attract the tourists and local visitors. In addition to its main missions, the modern museum at the same time should be also regarded as a factor of economic development. Access to the museum funds, space for self education, communication, creativity and leisure, rendering of information, assistance in the field of education, image formation, advertising and souvenir production – this list of services that may offer the museums is far from being exhaustive. Most of them may be required and paid not only by museum visitors but also by other consumers – research organizations, educational institutions, commercial companies, local governments, charity funds, the media and others.
To achieve the museums main goals there is necessary the transition towards a new system of management and organization of the museum activity, taking into consideration the implementation of the museum marketing.
Despite the existence of certain legal and normative acts that ensure the development of the museums and the protection of cultural heritage the legislation in general may be considered ineffective. One of the main problems is the lack of coordination between the laws and the institutions’ responsibility area. It also concerns the aspects of the museum legislation which also do not have clear provisions for the promotion of marketing activity. Another negative factor is the low qualification level of the administration and financial management in the museums, where there is still used outdated approaches.
Particularly it concerns the production and distribution of souvenirs and related products. For example the cultural institutions have neither legislative nor financial resources to ensure investments in the production and sale of competitive museum souvenirs. Nevertheless, in order to increase the turnover of the goods, the museum could use marketing technologies based on its potential and possibilities to provide new financial sources. A striking example may serve the creation of brand souvenirs representing specific organizations that will increase the potential of their marketing activities.
At present, in almost all museums there is missing the brand and its promotion on the cultural maps of the city and country. The museums of Romania and Ukraine continue also to face the same problems.
Thus, the main objective of the regional seminar is to highlight the most important topics related to the marketing policy in our countries: changes in the legislation, market research, identification of the visitors’ preferences and resources as the basic consumers of museum production, creation of favorable conditions for marketing etc.
The ICOM National Committee as a public organization cannot bear the responsibility for the state policy in the field of culture but, nevertheless, our organization may give a real help both to our colleagues working in the field of the elaboration of cultural strategies and our colleagues from museum field. At symposia and conferences organized by ICOM Moldova the museum professionals from different countries share not only theoretical knowledge but also practical experience which may be useful during elaboration and implementation of museum strategies and programs. Specific recommendations and opinions of the seminar participants are important not only for their colleagues but also for the ICOM Moldova administration which further may address state structure with concrete suggestions on museum marketing.
The introduction of the new marketing policy is a long and complicated process but nevertheless there is necessary to unite the efforts of the officials, cultural institutions, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations in order to make our museums attractive not only for us, museum employees, but first and foremost for our visitors.
In conclusion it is necessary to mention and thank the colleagues who actively participated in the organization of this conference. First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the members of ICOM Moldova Bureau Dr. Eugen Sava, Director of the National History Museum of Moldova, Mrs Elena Ploșnița, Mrs Lucia Marinescu, Mr Ion Ștefanița who besides their job duties were able to find also time to prepare and carry on the conference.
I would like to thank my colleagues from ICOM National Committees Mr Virgil Nițulescu, Chair of ICOM Romania and Mrs Julia Litvinets, Secretary of ICOM Ukraine who supported the participants from these countries. I would also like to thank Mrs Alexandra Zbuchea, our expert in the field of museum marketing, as well as all the participants who found the possibility to come to Moldova.