Exhibition Blitzblank. Copyright by FMH_Angela Lamprecht.

Museum & Sustainability - the Women's Museum Hittisau shows how it works

On Austrian Museum Day 2023, a visit to the ecologically important exhibition BLITZBLANK! Cleaning - inside, outside, everywhere in the Women's Museum in Hittisau.

This year's Austrian Museum Day has the motto Human - Museum! Strengthened towards the future. To this end, an interesting programme will be offered between 11 and 14 October 2023 in Bregenz, Dornbirn, Hohenems and Hittisau. The activities are in line with the redefinition of "museum". This was fixed in 2022 by the International Council of Museum (ICOM). Among other things, the following was agreed: "Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally". There is also a German translation that ICOM has agreed on, see: http://icom-oesterreich.at/news/icom-museumsdefinition.

Especially the demand museums foster sustainability, museums promote sustainability, is a central statement for the Austrian Museum Day, which wants to show how exhibition houses strengthen people for the future. But all Austrian museums that are committed to the Austrian Ecolabel also work according to the new museum definition.

Exhibition BLITZBLANK in the Women's Museum in Hittisau

This also includes the Women`s Museum Hittisau, which received the Austrian Ecolabel in September 2023. Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra, Director of the Women's Museum Hittisau, emphasises the relevance of this important state award, especially for a women's museum: "The intensive certification process led us to a consistently sustainable management. It has enriched our activities on many levels. Sustainability is a high priority for a women's museum in particular, because man-made climate change and its direct consequences have a particularly strong impact on women."

Exhibition BLITZBLANK. Copyright by FMH_Angela Lamprecht.

Until 27 October 2024, the Teile dieser Präsentation sind im Women's Museum in Hittisau is running the exhibition BLITZBLANK! Vom Putzen – innen, außen, überall. Parts of this presentation can be seen in the Lech Museum. BLITZBLANK! tells "about cleaning as a cultural technique and about an extra-clean world". So it's a complex subject! Questions are asked such as: What is dirt anyway? Why does it have to be "removed"? How, by whom? What roles do economy, ecology and sustainability play in cleaning? Pitscheider Soraperra explains: "The topics of 'ecology' and 'sustainability' play a major role in the exhibition BLITZBLANK! In the exhibition area 'so civilised' we ask the question whether the price of our cleanliness results in disrespect for nature and the environment. We take a critical look at the cleanliness industry with its over 55,000 cleaning products available on the market, take a look at rubbish and its travels around the world and reflect on the clean environment as a human right. In addition, the entire exhibition consists of materials that can be reused. Main components of the exhibition architecture are used pallets, unglued white tiles as well as printed sponge cloths, all of which can be deconstructed or reused in their original purpose."

The urge for cleanliness can also be understood - as mentioned by the director - as a "disregard for nature and our environment". From an ecological point of view, it is therefore essential how the (supposed) dirt is tackled and with which cleaning agents.

Ecological cleaning in the museum

So how is the cleaning of the Hittisau Women's Museum itself done? "The maintenance cleaning of the Women's Museum is done by the cleaning team of the municipality. the common areas are cleaned once a week. The museum is a wooden building, which is particularly low-maintenance in terms of cleaning. For example, the rough-sawn wooden floor only needs to be wet cleaned once a year. The self-cleaning properties of wood help us here," says Pitscheider Soraperra. Only cleaning agents from the Vorarlberger company Rala, which was awarded the Austrian Ecolabel, are used for all these cleaning processes.

At the Austrian Museum Day, the Women's Museum Hittisau will be part of the excursion programme on Saturday, 14 October 2023: at 09:30 and 11:30, director and exhibition designer Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra will guide visitors through the exhibition BLITZBLANK!