Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Why toys can be placed beside works of art of serious artists

The members of the nationwide museum coordinator network operated by the Museum Education and Methodology Centre (MOKK), Hungarian Open Air Museum (SZNM) are responsible for disseminating up-to-date museum approach, providing expert advice and organizing events. The coordinators actively advocate implementing local county and regional museum development and the unfolding of wide range, meaningful cooperation among museum and public education institutions. In order to achieve the above objectives, and to share best practices and methodology development, the coordinators regularly organize joint events and workshops with museum and educational institutions.

Fine arts, natural science and the inclusion of museum education was the title of the imaginative professional day and workshop held by Emese Joó at Deák17 Gallery, on 2 July. The purpose of the event was to presents methods easily applicable by museum educators in their sessions, for a really playful and entertaining knowledge transfer.

 Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Session held at Deák17 Gallery

In spite of the summer holidays and the scorching heat, numerous interested teachers and museum educators turned up at the Deák17 Gallery so as to take part in the museum education professional day, where the museum education programme based on the exhibition titled SPACE-MOTION-PLAY. The programme derived from an unusual collaboration of artist Tamás Konok and biologist Tamás Vásárhelyi.

 Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Konok_Vasarhelyi_Pairs of works of art

The participants were welcome by Emese Joó, who briefly outlined the activities of the Museum Education and Methodology Centre (MOKK), Hungarian Open Air Museum (SZNM) including the objectives of the current project Museum and library development for everyone. In her talk she discussed the differences between integration and inclusion, the varied learning environment of the school and the museum. The workshop was closed by the presentation of the new methodologies developed within the project and recommended for adaptation.


Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Dorka Kaposi, gallery manager, Deák17 Gallery

Dorka Kaposi manager of Deák17 Gallery elaborated in her talk titled Everyday creative knowledge in a jar how the knowledge transfer of contemporary art and natural sciences are combined in her institution. She pointed out that a great emphasis is placed that children with interests either in humanities or sciences can find out the messages of the exhibitions – preferably together – by which developing their analytical skills, participatory attitude and building their personality.

Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Tamás Vásárhelyi

The backstage secrets of the exhibition titled SPACE-MOTION-PLAY (on view until 12 July at Deák17 Gallery) were revealed by Tamás Vásárhelyi. The concept of the unconventional exhibition was conceived in the spirit that “it is a great thing to play”. As the home page of Deák17 Gallery claims, this exhibition is a splendid and entertaining attempt of “confronting and reconciling art and science”. The science communicator has always been intrigued how children’s toys and games can be used for transferring scientific knowledge in an easily understandable way. This is what inspired him to create different scientific play houses, the Herman Ottó Educational Nature Trail, or Smart Toys launched last year.


On the basis of the idea of Litza Juhász and Lilla Turcsányi staff of Vasarely Museum came up with for the Researchers’ Night, scientist and museum educator Tamás Vásárhelyi decorated with the Museum Education Lifetime Achievement Award, developed toys linked to works of art.  He had approached the renowned contemporary artist Tamás Konok well-known for his abstract images of geometrical forms and fine lines, with his toy created from some loop sticks and rubber bands.

Serious games: high art and recycled toys 

Tamás Konok: Red striped pyramid

 Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Tamás Vásárhelyi: Hour glass

The images were transformed into 3D, and by this smart objects based on physical phenomena were created. As the initiation was welcome by artist Tamás Konok, Tamás Váráhelyi approached further artists with his idea of a unique cooperation, (like “Édeske” István Haraszty renowned for his mobile sculptures, and István Nádler). The exhibition on view in Deák17 Gallery displays object pairs or theme pairs. Tamás Konok’s two dimensional works of art are on view on the walls, while Tamás Vásárhelyi’s three-dimensional mobile and ready to be tried handcrafted items are displayed on tables and exhibition stands together with educational scientific puzzles to be solved.


 Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Pairs of works of art in Deák17 Gallery

During the rest of the professional day, the museum educators working in small groups developed ideas for given target groups with special pedagogic aims linked to the exhibition of Tamás Konok and Tamás Vásárhelyi.


Serious games: high art and recycled toys

Photo taken during the workshop

The groups of museum staff and museum educators successfully linked practical learning, carefree playing, art-pedagogy tasks advocating applying and developing different kinds of knowledge with object pairs of works of art and toys.

The closing ceremony of the exhibition will be taking place at 6 p.m. on 12 July with the participation of Róbert Alföldi.

Further events of the museum coordinator network are accessible on the homepage of the project.

The event organized by our museum coordinator was carried out within the European Union project entitled “Museum and library development for everyone” identification number 3.3.3-VEKOP-16-2016-00001. The project is implemented by EU fund of two billion HUF between 1 February 2017 and 31 January 2020, with the consortium cooperation of the Museum Education and Methodology Centre, Hungarian Open Air Museum, and Szabó Ervin Metropolitan Library. The implementers of the project are committed to strengthening the role of equal opportunities, the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and creating possibility for providing equal access to cultural goods.


Author and Photos: Gabi Kajári, Museum Education and Methodology Centre, Hungarian open Air Museum

Translated by Katalin Andrikó, Museum Education and Methodology Centre, Hungarian open Air Museum