The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich are sending conservators to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou under the new Museum Experts Exchange Program.
On 11May, as part of the Museum Experts Exchange Program (MEEP), recently launched by the three museum groups, ten conservators from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich will travel to China for three weeks. They will broaden their knowledge by exchanging expertise on relevant projects with specialist counterparts in conservation and restoration from four Chinese museums. In October of this year the Chinese specialists will make a reciprocal visit to Berlin, Dresden, and Munich.
The project builds on the successful cultural exchange program carried out by the German museums in partnership with the National Museum of China in 2010, in which almost 50 museum experts took part in all. As additional partners for the new Museum Experts Exchange Program, Berlin, Dresden, and Munich have successfully recruited the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), the Shanghai Museum, and the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, as well as the Goethe-Institute China - a significant boost to the program. In Dresden the program is sponsored by the Museum and Research Foundation.
The program's key themes are planned jointly each year by the seven participating museums and its main priority is the exchange of specialist expertise. The aim is to establish a continuous and steadily increasing exchange of Chinese and German museum specialists and to develop long-term collaborative projects. This in turn will help to foster deeper cultural relations and cross-cultural understanding between China and Germany.
This year's key theme is "Restoration and conservation of the cultural heritage" and its participants include specialists in materials ranging from paper and porcelain to paintings, textiles, and metal. Authorities on objects hundreds of years old will participate alongside experts in contemporary art. All of them will be exchanging expertise with counterparts from the partner institutions in China relating to current conservation and restoration projects and to the subjects of exhibition presentation and collection management, while at the same time learning about each other's conservation practices.
The German and Chinese partner museums have years of partnership behind them, built on trust. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich began their joint engagement with China in 2005 with the photographic exhibition "Humanism in China," continuing in 2008 with the exhibitions "Living Landscapes: A Journey through German Art", and "Gerhard Richter" in the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), and in 2011/2012 with "The Art of the Enlightenment."
Experiences and impressions of the trip to China will be published regularly on the blog http://meepchina.tumblr.com.