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Seed Saving Education in Museums Cooperation Model

About Creating the Cooperation Model

Collaboration between open air museums and seed-savers’ organizations can be fruitful, together we can develop methods for showing agrobiodiversity and culinary heritage related to heritage plant varieties.

Food production was in the center of our rural communities. These surroundings are shown in open air museums. Open air museums are ideal places for people to learn about the value of cultural heritage, but heritage plants and food are often left out.

Seed savers in museums can help to reestablish heritage plants as part of rural cultural histories and livelihoods, so that the visitor can understand the importance of agrobiodiversity and sustainable agriculture.

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Our aim was originally to develop a model for educating a chosen target group (here: museum workers) on agrobiodiversity and heritage plants.


We started holding national meetings between seed savers and museum workers to understand each others’ resources and needs. After this we all gathered for the first workshop, which was online.


Already at this time it was obvious that both groups had many resources, knowledge, networks etc. to invest in the educational work, which would be better described as a cooperation field.

At the second workshop we developed resources and cooperation field and began shaping the model, also adding obstacles and needs to the common field.

Basically the model is about understanding and respecting each others resources - and include them creatively into the shared cooperation field. We filled up the field with examples of what we could do together to inspire others walking down this path, taking care also to look at possible obstacles and special needs.

So many interesting things can be done to improve agrobiodiversity when seed savers and museum workers join their forces.


Exchange of experience regarding cultivation of ancient varieties of plants in 
Estonian Open Air Museum

Project “Growing Seed Savers in Museum” has entered its final phase and within  project activity plan museum specialists of Latvian Open Air Museum (OAML) visited Estonian Open Air Museum (EOAM) in order to exchange the experience regarding cultivation of ancient varieties of plants.

The purpose of the field trip was to provide insights and direct experience with real-life initiatives and activities in thematic accordance with the visited place. Days of 9th and 10th of March were devoted to observation of process of creation of museum
greenery and participation in the project complemented by information on museums everyday activities provided by Estonian museum colleagues.
The participation and interaction at the place itself, followed by reflection of the experience was organised by specialists of EOAM.

Four participants of OAML gained hands-on experience when applying the approach of cultivation of ancient varieties during the preparation, realization, and reflection of the particular case studies.

During the activities of the visit, both a tasting of Estonian national dishes and an exchange of ideas on the use of herbs in the preparation of various dishes, including national dishes, took place.

The project helps to promote biodiversity in the world of crops where ability to adapt to specific soil and climatic conditions is crucial. In this aspect participants exchanged views and current experience in soil preparation, improvement of forest land for plantations of flowers, shrubs and fruit trees.

Some practical and further co-operation issues were discussed e.g. problems in the supply of old crop seeds and process of arranging a spice bed at Estonian and Latvian farms and discussing the plants to be planted in them. Opportunities to
exchange crop seeds and seedlings and future forms of cooperation were considered and defined as well as possibilities and benefits of promoting of the use of crop seeds in museum educational programs and implementation of a curriculum developed within the project.


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