European Women’s Museums meet in Bonn

The International Association of Women’s Museum invitation

showimage European Women's Museums meet in Bonn

Five years ago, Frauenmuseum Bonn hosted a conference of women”s museums to discuss the setting up of an international network. It was attended by 60 women from various countries around the world.
Frauenmuseum Bonn is extending an invitation for another European conference. This time, the focus will be on defining future projects for the International Association of Women”s Museums (IAWM), Bonn – founded in 2012 – and reinforcing its commitment to the cause of women”s museums worldwide.
Bettina Bab, chairperson of the IAWM, as well as her European colleagues, Sissy Prader from South Tirol, Mona Holm from Norway and coordinator Astrid Schönweger are not only looking forward to meeting around 20 European partners from countries like Albania and Ireland, but are also extremely happy to welcome overseas partners from Mexico, India and Iran.
The conference will take place on 6th and 7th November and will focus on a range of topics such as recruiting new members to the association, promoting the acceptance of women”s museums around the world, as well as fostering international cooperation in a manner that has already been carried out very successfully with the exhibition “Single Moms: Alleinerziehende und ihre Lebenswelten”. This exhibition, which will continue to be on display during the conference, has seen the involvement of women”s museums from Ukraine and Vietnam and the International Museum of Women from San Francisco .
The most important goal for us in the near future is to develop strategies for safeguarding our museums. Even Frauenmuseum Bonn, the oldest women”s museum and a leading model for a lot of museums around the world, has had to face cutbacks in the city”s budgets, which have been justified with the argument that since women have already reached their goals, supporting the museum is no longer necessary!
On the contrary, Germany is one of the few countries in Europe where addressing issues of female employment, pay gap, women”s studies and childcare is as inadequate as in some developing countries.
Only those who are ignorant about official statistics, which show women”s representation in official art auctions, women students in art schools and the international art price statistics, can argue that no support is needed for female artists!
The Frauenmuseum Bonn is unfortunately not the only one. The other three museums in Germany, Frauenmuseum Wiesbaden (founded in 1984), Verborgene Museum in Berlin (founded in 1986) and Museum Frauenkultur Regional-International in Fürth (founded in 2003) face similar problems. And this is the situation in one of the richest countries of the world.
To understand this situation we should look at other countries. The USA is the only other country that has the same number of women”s museums as Germany. These are mostly private museums because of the different definition of museums there.
In Europe, there are some progressive countries that consider women”s history and art to be part of their heritage and future:
– the women”s museum in Aarhus, Denmark, founded in 1991, is considered a National Museum;
– the town of Hittisau in Vorarlberg/Austria decided to change its local museum into a women-only museum;
– the town of Umea, Sweden, will open a new women”s museum this year.
During the last five years, the number of women”s museums worldwide has risen from 40 to 50, and last year we learned about new initiatives in India, Turkey, Tunisia and Chile. They are all united in their desire to not only support women in art, culture and history but to also actively contribute to the development of a gender-neutral democratic society.
All exhibitions, events and workshops should be considered an important and powerful contribution towards the education, awareness and empowerment of women and girls.
Those interested in the official part of the conference, on Thursday, 6th Nov., please contact:
The current exhibition “Single Moms” and the IAWM Congress are supported by the LVR (Landschaftsverband Rheinland).

The first Women´s Museum worldwide presents art and history of women – interdisciplinary and internationally.
Exciting exhibitions focusing on topical discussions and academic research show the role of women in society from matriarchal prehistory to the women´s world of today.
Entering the Frauenmuseum in Bonn for the first time is a special experience: this museum is different to the other museums belonging to the phalanx of traditional museums in the Rhine valley.
This museum definitely has its finger on the pulse of time.
The exhibitions refer to the latest discussions concerning women’s problems of today like sex trafficking, the myth of motherhood, the right to vote, single Moms, women’s role in religion, and many more. The Frauenmuseum is faster than most other museums: the exhibitions are changing almost every three months. And it is not only focusing on classic exhibitions: there is the Art Fair in November and the Design Fair with a special show on fantasy dresses in March. Visiting these events everybody, even the most serious visitor, realizes: the Frauenmuseum is not only a museum but it is a laboratory of art, history and research, ready to get involved in any kind of adventure and new experiences. It is, of course, not always easy to accept innovative and fresh – let´s say new born – art which is still not following the dictates of the established art markets and regular art consumption, but without an active art adventure Picasso would not be a Picasso, would not be a Picasso…
Are men allowed inside the museum? For sure, it will cost them only 4.50 € and they can work on their education and inspiration! The Frauenmuseum even hosted exhibitions of selected male artists recently, working on female subjects, of course.
The Frauenmuseum was founded in 1981 by Marianne Pitzen and some women working on interdisciplinary subjects. She still is the Director of the Museum today, besides of following her creative artistic fluxes and veins.
There are around 400 members united in the “Verein Frauenmuseum – Kunst, Kultur Forschung e.V.” supporting the Frauenmuseum.
To date the Frauenmuseum has hosted more then 700 exhibitions and supporting programmes, accompanied by a program for a children’s art center and building up three different archives, which already became internationally recognized institutions.
This role model of a museum uniting art workshops, think tank and laboratory as well as exhibitions is quite unique. The art work of about 2500 artists has been shown until today and a lot of them used the museum as a stepping stone into the international art market.
In addition, the Frauenmuseum in Bonn took part in founding the “International Association of Women’s Museums” worldwide in 2012 and acts as its headquarters.

Exhibitions until 09.11.2014:

Single Moms. Alleinerziehende Mütter und ihre Lebenswelt.
Vom Leben nach Anfal. Portraits von Überlebenden der Anfal-Operationen in Kurdistan-Irak und zur neuen Gedenkstätte in Rizgari


21.11. – 23.11. 2014 24. Kunstmesse 2014, 80 Künstlerinnen, Sonderausstellung, Programm

30.11. – 30.01.2015 Theobald Simon Preis der GEDOK, Bundesweite Ausschreibung, Ausstellung der Preisträgerin. c/o Prof. Ulrike Rosenbach/Präsidentin der GEDOK

14.12. – 08.03.2015 Gabriele Münter. Die Blaue Reiterin und ihr Freundeskreis. Ein Projekt des Gabriele Münter Preis e.V.

Dr. Klaudia Nebelin
Im Krausfeld
53111 Bonn
0228 92 89 45 27