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International Association of Transport and Communications Museums

Signposts in front of sunset

IATM looking back and ahead

With the 46th Annual Conference in mind, we are already looking ahead to the next one with this newsletter. Additionally, we get to introduce IATM's new President Joachim Breuninger as well as a new board member! Read on below for more information and calls for action.

President's letter

Dear colleagues from all around the IATM-world,

As the year 2023 comes to an end, we can pause and look back at a great conference in London with wonderful visits to important museums and heritage sites and spectacular insights into communication and transport museums. We celebrated director Sam Mullins OBE as he ended his term as president. During his term he kept this organisation together through difficult times during the pandemic and brought it back into the good shape it is in today. Once again, I want to express my deep gratitude to Sam for the great job he did in the last four years, together with a highly engaged board that had to adapt to a new world without physical meetings, a total absence of visitors, problematic budget conditions and endless Zoom-conferences. And as this year comes to close, it is with gratitude and a sense of pride that I assume my role as president of IATM and I look forward to leading such a great organisation for the next four years as we face new challenges and opportunities.

2023 has been a year that left many of us with little optimism for the future. As I am writing this letter, the Russian war on the Ukraine is still going on with no end in sight. And now the terrible attack of Hamas on Israel has added the next big crisis to the agenda. We look back on a year that has seen temperatures soar higher than any year before we started recording weather data. The climate crisis is unfolding and gives us an impression of what is yet to come. Our Scandinavian and Baltic colleagues must think about the security of their museums and collections in the face of the Russian aggression just next to their boarders. There are many museums around the globe that already face new challenges caused by climate crisis. High temperatures, wildfires, floodings or lack of water are upcoming threats to our museums, we must prepare for in the future.

The impact of these world crises and an uncertain future led us to the decision to dedicate our next conference to the theme of “Museums in Danger” as we all face multiple challenges for our futures.

It makes no sense to ignore these threats. That’s why we want to talk about them in our upcoming conference. And we can, once again, use the strength of this organisation to learn from each other instead of trying to solve problems isolated and on our own.

That’s why I am really looking forward to our next conference which will take place in and around Tampere in Finland from 8 - 11 September 2024. I want to express my sincere thanks to our dear colleagues in Finland for accepting the task of this important event and I know that we will have yet another great conference. I hope to see as many of you as possible in person in Finland next year.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2024.

Joachim Breuninger

President IATM

IATM Conference 2024 goes Finland

"Museums in Danger"

IATM’s 47th annual conference looks at museums in times of global crisis. It examines the dangers communication and transport museums face, asks how they can contribute to wellbeing, education, and safety, as well as respond to attacks, international conflicts, and ecological and economic challenges and responsibilities. The conference takes delegates to Finland's vast museum landscape.
A call for papers will be published in January 2024.

IATM conference in London and new & familiar faces on IATM Board

Look back at "The post-pandemic world and the museum"

The conference explored new approaches, transformations and innovations in communication and transport museums. It asked, how partnerships, collaborations, programmes and working environments changed in response to the learnings and experiences made between 2020 and 2023.

Joachim Breuninger elected IATM president and Heidi Rytky joins board

The director of the Deutsches Technikmuseum, Joachim Breuninger, became president of IATM and is joined by new board member Heidi Rytky, CEO of Mobilia. Both were elected at IATM's general assembly in September and are looking forward to building bridges in a network with a familial spirit.

What's buzzing in our member institutions?

In this new section, we want to highlight current (research) projects, activities, exhibitions or related news from our member institutions. If you would like to be featured on our website, Social Media outlets and in this newsletter with your project or question, please submit them via email to web@iatm.museum.
This time, we're focusing on current and past projects revolving around climate change.

Exploring the "Thin Ice" at Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin

Icy winds, freezing weather and months of darkness – "Thin Ice. Come along on a climate expedition!" at Deutsches Technikmuseum (23 November 2023 to 8 September 2024) lets visitors follow the one-year-long real-life arctic expedition of the famous research vessel POLARSTERN in 2019/2020. School classes and families can experience what it's like to do research in the Arctic. They can measure ice thickness, look for microorganisms and find out how much longer multiyear ice will still be around.

That the Arctic serves as an early warning system becomes crystal clear. And the warning is unequivocal: There simply isn't much time left. We must act now to prevent a climate catastrophe.
»Step onto "Thin Ice"

Reaching the CLIMATE_X and wondering why we're not doing what we already know.

"Why don't we do what we know?" asks the Museum für Kommunikation Berlin's temporary exhibition "Climate_X" (29 September 2023 - 1 September 2024).
In exploring the communication of and within the crisis, pointing to known facts and research results, the exhibition bolsters its visitors to take steps forward. Because we've done similar things before.

The exhibition was developed and on show at the Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt.
»Why don't you do, what you know?

A poetic and scientific journey on biodiversity and our climate at Train World in Belgium.

"Animalia" (extended until 10 March 2024) opens the museums' railway collections for a dialogue with animal sculptures created by artist Pierre-Yves Rankin. Alongside this approach centred on poetic emotion, themes like preserving biodiversity, climate change and the benefits of trains as a sustainable mode of transport, are expanded upon in the various museum areas.
»To the poetic journey

House of Energy.
How Verkehrshaus der Schweiz is tackling climate protection and energy supplies.

From climate change and climate protection through to safeguarding our energy supply: energy is a highly topical issue. The opening of the newly built “House of Energy” sees the Museum of Transport explore this topic across a wide range of areas, turning the Museum into a platform of expertise and encouraging academic, political and societal dialogue on the matter.
»Experience Energy!

Planetopia. More than an exhibition at Museum für Kommunikation Bern

"Planetopia" was set to create space for global change. The museum took onto the project not only with an exhibition in mind (made to 90 percent from re-used materials) but dialogue as the key to get moving and into action. This also lead to changes behind the scenes, with the museum moving its collections for a more sustainable storage and care. The expe-riences and learnings were documented and shared online.
»...and action!

100 Climate Conversations at Powerhouse Museum

Already at number 93, the Australian Powerhouse Museum's climate conversations offer inspired stories of invention, community and resilience.

The conversations are recorded live at their exhibition studio. Video and transcripts are uploaded to their website, and a podcast produced in partnership with Spotify is released weekly. Records of the conversations are archived for future generations as part of the museum’s collection.


Climate Talks with the Railway Museum

Exploring the challenges caused by climate change, these panel discussions and Q&As take you from feeding the world and sustainable energy to power grid problems and India's green transition.
With conversations between Tony Blair and John Kerry as well as interviews with scientists and public figures "Climate Talks" is a series of ongoing online events at the National Railway Museum in York, UK.

Last but not least...

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If you would like to add news to the newsletter or IATM's website, provide feedback on our online communication or start a conversation with the network reach out to: web@iatm.museum

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