Do you want to roam the distributaries, stop on the sandbars, walk through the meadows and listen to the quiet life of plants and animals? Perhaps you are more interested in what the growth rings of the 500-year-old Adam’s oak have to tell us? Or do you want to try hand at being a gold digger? You can try of this and more in Međimurje at the Between Two Waters Visitor Center, whose realisation at the beginning of 2020 we have proudly brought to a conclusion.
In Međimurje, where the Mura and Drava rivers embrace, where life intertwines with the waters that each carry in its basin a thousand shades – there, Muses did a great job, arranging a special river distributary of good stories. This is the Between Two Waters permanent exhibition, located in the Visitor Center in Križovec.
The idea of such a special touch between the two rivers was born in 2015, when we began developing the concept and ideas for this exhibition as part of a larger project EU Natura 2000 Project of Integration, according to the contract concluded with the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection. Since the end of 2019, when the practical realisation of the permanent exhibition began, we have worked with excellent illustrators, photographers, animators, translators, proofreaders and a large team of co-authors and contractors consisting of graphic and product designers, IT and multimedia designers, lighting designers, experts in IT equipment and programming, carpenters and graphic experts…
The Between Two Waters Visitor Center is a key access point at the entrance of the Mura-Drava Regional Park, which offers many diverse and playful facilities. The very name “Between Two Waters” is a phrase that the people of Međimurje use to call their region, when they speak from their heart.
And the space was not chosen by chance, it was enriched by the years of the communal life of the rivers and the people of Međimurje. The permanent exhibition is located in the building of the Center, which was once a home to foresters and their families. In the 19th century, foresters took care of oak forests, as well as felling them for the needs of building bridges, ships, railway sleepers and residential buildings throughout Europe. In its immediate vicinity, there is another river legend – a log cabin. As part of this project, a permanent exhibition was set up dedicated to Adam the Oak, which grew 500 years before it was ironically was cut down by the same foresters who had been taking care of it for decades. Here we can find out what stories are told, learn how the bark of a tree is formed and meet the forester and famous writer who was enchanted by the oak forests and often write poets about them.
The scenography of the exhibition in the Center is an invitation to celebrate the rivers and to experience sailing with all the senses: the tour is conceived as meandering down the rivers, from the springs to the river mouths, wandering through wetlands, sandbars, distributaries, oxbow lakes, floodplain forests, roaming through meadows and forests. In this walk through of the story and interaction, we encounter intertwined plant and animal kingdoms. We meet the quiet lives of fish and birds, bats, ducks, butterflies, dragonflies, deer, wild boars, otters, beavers, frogs and turtles, foxes, owls, eagles… In the tumultuous world of the exhibition, nothing is static, with the help of the excellent illustrations and videos clips of nature and animals that you would not have the opportunity to see live.
Surprises and challenges await visitors: they can play the role of gold diggers and try to collect gold nuggets from the Drava River, or they can make their voices sound like ducks that paddle in the local wetlands. If they wish, they can hear the sound of owls and other birds, and a special treat is a video that follows the life cycle of a dragonfly. The adventures of the local Međimurje fishermen and an animated film about how Drava gravel is formed speak of the special alliance of the river and people. The exhibition also has a view from the sky: we see two rivers from the perspective of a bald eagle.
The experience of the the Between Two Waters Visitor Center is enhanced with a souvenir shop and a children’s playground called “Rječica”. When we played here, and looked at each other and said out loud “Huckleberry Finn would also be happy here!” Check out whether we’re right.
Međimurje Nature – Public Institution for Nature Protection
Co-Authors of the Permanent Display
Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, Muze d.o.o.
Vedran Kasap, Clinica studio d.o.o.
Marko Šesnić, Šesnić&Turković d.o.o.
Goran Turković, Šesnić&Turković d.o.o.
Vladimir Končar, Revolucija dizajna d.o.o.
PRODUCTION OF THE PERMANENT DISPLAY
Development of Audio, Visual and Textual Content
Product, IT and Multimedia Design
Clinica studio d.o.o.
Team građenje d.o.o.
Equipment of the Facilities
Primat RD d.o.o.
Audio Video Consulting d.o.o.
The use of the archive material was made possible by
The Aldo Leopold Foundation and University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives
The Town of Mursko Središće
The archives of the scholar Dragutin Feletar, courtesy of Petra Somek
Stephan Morris / Shutterstock
Rick Ray / Shutterstock
Evgeniya 49 / Shutterstock
Lidija Vešligaj (Croatian)
Martin Mayhew (English)
Review of interpretive texts
Association for Nature and Environment Protection Green Osijek
Tjaša Kalkan, 2020