Travelling exhibition: the final stop

The travelling exhibition has come to an end.

October 1st, 2013, Bolzano. The travelling exhibition made its debut at Eurac Research in a ceremony that saw the presence of researchers next to students, teachers, and educational authorities from the three language groups. A few days later, its tour started with a first stop in a lower secondary school in Bolzano. Nine years later, it has reached its final stop. As of September 2022, the exhibition “Plurilingualism: from our doorstep to the world ” will no longer be touring in schools in South Tyrol or anywhere else. It was a difficult decision to take, but when we think about the reason that led us to this decision we can only feel a great sense of satisfaction. Even the best car doesn’t have unlimited kilometers and neither do our posters, which have now been retired because of their intense use after a two-year pandemic break in our offices. Questions such as ‘What is Volapük? Where it is spoken?’, ‘What is the longest word on earth?’ or ‘Which country is the most multilingual?’ …  will be no longer heard in classes next to the exhibition.

In their nine-year long tour, our seven roll-up posters and 396 (!!!) magnets travelled more than 11,000km (roughly the distance between Bolzano and Buenos Aires) throughout South Tyrol, involving more than 90 classes and an unknown number of pupils aged 4 to 19. While becoming the most successful tool of the SMS project and its follow-up SMS 2.0, it happened upon many languages from Ladin to Sardinian, Kurdish and Ukrainian, and contributed to increasing the awareness of many others, including Europanto and Tok pisin (whaat??). In these 10 years, the SMS team has accumulated so many anecdotes that a website would not be enough to collect them all… so we’ll limit ourselves to quoting one of the comments a middle school pupil wrote after playing with the exhibition: “Es war alles perfekt!”

The supporting material and the quiz cards for poster 1 will still be freely available and downloadable, and schools will still be able to book any of the 10 workshops developed from the contents of the exhibition here.