87% of Ukrainians get their news from national TV channels, which means that the world we see is the world journalists show us. Despite of that, people rarely think about how to distinguish the truth from lies, how news is created and how audience's small choices influence the history of an entire country.
The lack of media literacy isn't the only issue. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine endured years of corruption, mismanagement, lack of economic growth and currency devaluation. People have lost their hope in peaceful and happy future for their country. Huge disappointment in political landscape led to Revolution of Dignity, an impeachment bill and extraordinary presidential elections. These changes renewed nation's confidence in its power to make a change. Through volunteer movement and charity, thousands of people started taking more active role in society.
But a few years had gone by, and this emotional uplift began to fade. Ukraine is now going through one of the most challenging periods in its history. It hasn't regained control over Crimean Peninsula, which was unilaterally annexed by Russia. The War in the Donbass region has been going on for 3 years and hasn't ended.
Such difficult times require inspiring projects. We wanted people to feel patriotism, pride, nostalgia and awareness of how much every person's actions matter in national and global media space.
People love TV news, but only 3% of Ukrainians go to museums and theatres every month. Our strategy was to combine these two aspects and to create the first Museum of News in our country. Over 140 people (6 professional teams and 40 invited specialists) were working on the project for 4 months.
Using 10 halls with interactive zones, we told a story of news creation and explained how to perceive and analyze information in media. Exhibits explained the role of a journalist, a cameraman, a host and other participants of news production.
12 000 square meters of the walls contained data about 26 years of life of an independent country. The exhibition was based on 6000 news. One of halls was devoted to the 100 most important events of contemporary Ukraine that had been chosen by 30 experts.
Each exhibit was carefully selected to show that anyone can be a creator of the news and its hero, that audience is the one who decides how long the news lives for and that it depends on you only whether information brings harm or benefit.
Museum of News for the first time gave the Ukrainians an opportunity to see unique artifacts that witnessed the most significant political and economic events. Most of them had never been exhibited before. Such artifacts include:
- a legendary flag that Ukrainian statesman Viacheslav Chornovil brought to the Parliament building after Ukraine had declared its Independence;
- a draft of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine;
- a poetry book Kobzar that was brought to the Space by the first Ukrainian astronaut Leonid Kadeniuk;
- two Eurovision Song Contest prizes;
- Vitali Klitschko's boxing Champion's belt;
- a turbine of the record holder airplane Antonov An-225 Mriya (the longest and heaviest airplane ever built that has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service).
One of the most crucial parts of preparation was the attention to detail. For example, 509 ship toys were painted in different colours to represent how The Black Sea Fleet is divided.
The Museum of News also contained an interactive TV studio, eight VR zones, a virtual correspondent's dressing room. A hologram of a TV host Alla Mazur was a first-ever full-length projection in our country.
Every visitor could vote for Ukraine's most important news and take a test on journalistic ethics and news knowledge.
Although interactive content and virtual reality tools are widely used in many museums all over the world, they haven't yet become as popular in Ukraine, so the Museum of News was truly a cultural breakthrough.
Around 100 000 people visited the exhibition in just 3 weeks (March 3-26, 2017). Up to 500 excursions were held. The youngest visitor was just 7 months old. The oldest visitor was a 92-year-old Auschwitz survivor, scientist in mechanical engineering Ihor Malytskyi.
An average time spent at the museum was around 2.5 hours. The number of media publications was 388. Total media coverage of the project was over 7 879 700 people. More than 7900 photos from the museum were published on Instagram.