"The Collection Tours allow us to set out common themes which run through the urban tapestry of the Metropolis Ruhr; themes which demonstrate that everything is connected. Even though the museums in themselves are very unique, the tours serve to bring them together into a single entity – a greater whole."
Dr. Hartwig Fischer, Director of the Museum Folkwang in Essen, 2010
Art moves. This is something which the RuhrKunstMuseen took literally. In 2010, with the Ruhr area's appointment as European City of Culture, the freshly-established network of museums took it upon themselves to organise a premium programme befitting of their first public appearance – art appreciation by bus. This took the form of guided "Collection Tours", which travelled across the Ruhr area. This was a project which was only made possible through the support of the Deutsche Bank. These tours provided an in-depth look at artistic treasures, collections and special exhibitions in the Metropolis Ruhr. This mobile art experience allowed the city of cities, bordered by the Emscher and the Ruhr rivers, to come culturally closer together.
This meant that, for the first time in the history of the Ruhr area, large-scale art tours connected the museums of the area across cities – a feat only made possible by the Collection Tours. A celebration of the arts and a treat for the audience – this motto, which applies to this day, got people moving. For example, many adults rushed to book the "Tour Ost/West" which, over the course of 6 hours on a single day, comprised a tour of 3 separate collections based on the same topic. Another popular choice was "Reisegespräche", which transformed coach-based road trips into philosophical lounges on wheels, accompanied by experts from the cultural and media sectors. The heated discussions provided food for thought, while large distances were covered. The Collection Tours programme which was aimed at children and young people also had a few tricks up its sleeve: "Zweimal Kunst und zurück", a free offer for schools with educational material provided free of charge, featuring a generous sprinkling of workshops tailored to specific age groups, tours, and interactive courses with topics ranging from "Trick mit dem Blick" to "Nichts als Farbe".
Over the course of half a year, a fleet of buses, clad in the RuhrKunstMuseen's shared design scheme, drove approximately 20,000 people to 700 events. These buses were able to be booked via the RuhrKunstMuseen's project office. This was a service based on the motto "the most convenient mobility, for the most exceptional art experiences, for the most varied of audiences". At the same time, the project served to connect the range of different artistic treasures scattered throughout the Metropolis Ruhr, a range which serves to demonstrate the variety of different opinions surrounding art. The pioneering project was spurred on by the passionate idea brought forward by the RuhrKunstMuseen, a network which was still young at the time, of initiating a consolidation pact for the promotion of art, culture, education and a shared vision. During the Ruhr area's appointment as European Capital of Culture in 2010, the aim was to get experimental strategies for cultural mediation and participation off the ground – by conveying a sense of enjoyment for the sensory, by allowing for a change of direction in thought, and for enabling discussion, togetherness and participation in the Metropolis Ruhr to promote a sense of community. The Collection Tours were an important first step in doing so. They helped to get the public perception of the importance of art and culture, and/or of cultural education, off the ground.
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