Temporary exhibition


The conception of the exhibition is based on the book How we survived communism and even laughed (1991) by the Croatian writer, Slavenka Drakulič (1949). The author describes her visits to her friends in the Eastern block countries which always took part in the kitchens of her hostesses. Their gatherings were hearty and despite the want full of playful joy and optimism.

The exhibition is divided into nine content-related parts and highlights the kitchen spaces within different periods and social classes, and connects particular kinds of food with a story of a person that personifies the content-related part.

In the Slovene language, the term “kitchen debate” describes three things: the living space, its furnishing and the way in which food is prepared. The exhibition displays kitchen furniture, utensils and kitchenware that are preserved by the Regional Museum Maribor. In the Slovene colloquial language, the term “kitchen” is also a negative connotation and denotes collusive, untransparent behaviour. This fact was also taken into account when we were in our search for the title of exhibition in question. We found traces of such conduct in the literature dealing with the recent history which concerned a political debate on the highest levelwas launched by a topic so obscure for politics – kitchen equipment. The Kitchen Debate arose on the 24th of June in 1959, when the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. vice president Richard Nixon met at the American National Exhibition at the Sokolniki Park in Moscow. At the exhibition concerned the Americans have among others also presented four contemporary kitchens, equipped with the state-of-the-art kitchen appliances. While the Russian women were standing in long lines in order to see these modern American kitchens, the Russian partysecretary did not only see exhibited products that eased the household chores, but also the intention of the capitalism to turn housewives into mindless consumers. As the two paradigms were faced with each other, the difference between East and West also became visible in the perception of social roles of both sexes. Throughout history, young boys were brought up to be prepared to carry out public affairs, and played with tin soldiers and model railways; young girls were determined to be houswives. That is why girls were given doll kitchens, just like one which the Regional Museum Maribor received as a gift from Helga Geiselbrecht (born 1942) thanks to the facilitation of the Nuremberg Toy Museum in the year 2016.

Funders, sponsors and donors: