Trend Report

Trend Report
Dutch museums and archives
Winter 2014/2015
The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity
Lilla Vonk
Table of contents
Dutch Museums
Trend: Introspection and alternative ways of storytelling
Case study: Het Dolhuys
Educational program and objectives
Trend: Engaging with audiences: “unconventional” curators
Case-study: De Wereld Draait Door Pop-Up Museum
Case-study: Parelen
Case-study: Kröller-Müller’s Expose and the Mix and Match Museum
Mix and Match Museum
Dutch Archives
Trend: Museological strategies and education as a flagship product
Case-study: The National Archive
Case-study: The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Conclusive remarks
Dutch Museums
Since the financial crisis, Dutch museums are increasingly dealing with cut-backs in
funding and they have become embroiled in a continuous struggle to justify their
significance to society at large. As a reaction, many museums are repositioning
themselves within society and are currently trying new approaches to bind with, and
attract larger, audiences (Asscher-Vonk 2012). Within these approaches, some recurring
trends can be discerned. This report will focus on the most innovative socially directed
initiatives that are taking place currently in The Netherlands.
Trend: Introspection and alternative ways of storytelling
Mirroring their own current situation, there are quite a few museums that are
incorporating the self-reflective process as a theme within their exhibitions. In a bid to
underscore their social relevance, these museums are looking for a closer cooperation
with their audiences in order to make an optimal connection with them. Since the
museum’s role in civic education is stressed in the current social environment, museums
wish to enhance and enrich people’s experience and the way they look at and
communicate with the world through museum visits (Ministerie OCW 2005). The
preferred way of achieving this is by trying to establish personal links between the visitor
and the museum. The museums in question have started to step away from their
traditional role as “all-knowing” educators that interpret everything for the public and
this is a trend that is still in continuous development (Simon 2010, iii). Increasingly,
museums are working on offering alternative storylines instead of following traditionalist
grand-narratives. These types of storylines center on showcasing the plurality of reality
instead of “the truth”, and allow for interrogative stances. At the moment, personal
histories, situated within larger historical contexts, are favored as the way to engage more
closely with museum visitors. Exhibitions portraying personal stories, are furthermore
often combined with a set-up that allows for an immersive and participatory experience.
These last points correspond to the societal development of a growing so-called
experience economy in The Netherlands (Ministerie OCW 2005, 4).
Case study: Het Dolhuys
An exemplary museum that
subscribes to this movement is the
Dolhuys in Haarlem. This is the
Dutch national museum of
psychiatry, located within a
hospital for the “insane” (dollen, in
old-fashioned Dutch, hence
Dolhuys means house for the
insane) which dates back to the
16th century. The establishment of
the museum was initiated by seven
psychiatric institutions in 2005,
and since its founding it has won
the Dutch Design Award in the
category “Exhibition and
experience design” in 2005 and it
received a commendation
at the European Museum of the Year Award in 2007.
“Have you ever met a normal person?”
Throughout the various exhibitions, permanent and temporary, the Dolhuys has
underscored a more personal side of the history of psychiatry in The Netherlands over
the last years. As of 2014, the museum is positioning itself as the “Museum of the Mind”.
Under this banner, the Dolhuys wants to launch a debate about the diversity of the
human mind and the value of aberrant behavior1. The Dolhuys considers itself as an
interactive museum2: it is more centered on showcasing and evoking experiences and
opinions than on solely showcasing artefacts for their historical or aesthetic value.
Researches performed by the Ministry of Culture have shown that visitors increasingly
seek personal interaction (Ministerie OCW 2005, 5), and the Dolhuys is supplying to this
wish particularly well. The exhibitions aim at letting the visitors explore the (often thin)
boundaries between sanity and insanity. The permanent exhibition demonstrates how
“insanity” was treated over time and invites the visitors to engage with this history by
letting them take quizzes about how “sane” they are themselves and how they relate to
the historical “insane”.
The aim of the museum is to de-stigmatize psychiatric illnesses. By means of
exhibitions exploring themes related to these types of illnesses, the museum is
continuously trying to create a social dialogue wherein the way society considers and
treats the mentally ill. The Dolhuys works a lot with the topic of perception and thus
often resorts to photographic material within its exhibitions. One example is a temporary
exhibition created in the spring of 2014, when one of the oldest psychiatric wards in
Amsterdam3 closed down. The last occupants and staff were all photographed, and their
portraits were put on display in the museum, with their respective names but without an
indication of their status as either staff or patient. Through this display, the museum
wished to question preconceived stereotypes about the mental ill and how they look. Can
you actually see if someone has a mental illness (Van Os, 2014)?
“You wonder who these people are. What is going on in their
heads? The focus does not lie on the illness, but on the personalities of
the occupants.” – Hans Looijen, director of the Dolhuys4.
De Valeriuskliniek, see
See Images from the exhibition “De geest
geportretteerd” (The mind in portraits).
Currently, the museum showcases an exposition about the “criminal mind” which
confronts the visitors with questions about the differences between a criminal and
themselves. What exactly is the difference? Is their brain wired in another way? Or is
anybody, depending on the circumstances, able to commit a crime5? Installations have
been created to let visitors test their own conscience and to find out what it takes to make
them “snap” and lose control over their actions.
If the museum wants to make mental illness a matter to talk about it also wishes
to talk about the individuals suffering from these disorders and discover the implications
it has on their life, in order to make mental illness more approachable and
understandable to those not suffering from it. One way to achieve this are displays of
patients telling their story, which was for instance done in the web-expo series “My
conscience 2014”. One story from this digital exposition, which is part of the museum
website, was “I am not my criminal offence”, wherein a convicted, severely mentally ill
young man tells about the crimes he committed and what led him up to committing these
in an audio-document6. After committing a series of armed robberies, he was sentenced
to involuntary psychiatric treatment in a so-called TBS clinic7 after serving a prison
sentence. According to the museum, TBS convicts are often depicted as “monsters, crazy
lunatics who want to hurt others”8. This is understandable according to them, since the
fact that they are real people like everybody else makes us uncomfortable: we like to keep
the dark side of life at bay9.
The strong point of the Dolhuys resides in this constant interrogation of the norm
of “normality”, its deviations and abnormalities and the way it tries to make a personal
connection by directly interrogating visitors about their own “tendencies” towards
insanity. Within the permanent collection, it lets its visitors explore the boundaries
between themselves and “the other”:
every door and cabinet can be opened,
everything can be touched. At the same
time, it questions the absoluteness of
these boundaries. One of the first
exhibition rooms consists of a screen
showing portraits, accompanied by the
question “Are they normal or abnormal?”
Occasionally, the screen turns into a
mirror, showing the reflection of the
visitor, as a way of illustrating and
confronting the visitor with the fact that
one in four Dutch is treated within mental
healthcare services10.
“What is normal?”
See “Levenslang – het criminele brein ontleed” on
See ”The story of Astrando” (in Dutch)
TBS is an abbreviation for Ter Beschikking Stelling, which translates to “being placed at disposal” (of the
state). A convict can be sentenced to TBS when he/she committed a crime directly related to a psychiatric
disorder, witch a high risk of recidivism. Additionally, the convict cannot, or only partly, be held accountable for
the committed crime.
See the short circumscription of each space in Dutch on
In the Dolhuys one can “experience” what mental illnesses feel like: it is possible
to be locked in one of the authentic 16th century “dollencellen” (the cells wherein patients
were put). Within these cells, films are played that display associative images about what
it means, and feels like, to be locked away. In one of the cells, after the doors are locked,
an audio-band narrates the experience of an individual who was locked in one of these
cells. Audio is, next to visual material, a much employed medium throughout the whole
museum. Many rooms offer headsets that play narrations that recount the stories and
experiences of different individuals. These stories are all meant to break with the
stereotypical imagery of “the mentally ill”: the individuals within the exhibition are not
diagnosed or judged for what they are/were, did or did not do, they are shown for what
they are; individuals, as opposed to the stigmatized “psychiatric patient”.
“What to do with someone who kicks, or bites, or walks naked through the cold, who cuts himself or
threatens with a knife?” Pictured in the back is the entrance to one of the cells.
Trend: Engaging with audiences: “unconventional” curators
Many Dutch museums strive for communicating different storylines through their
existing collections in an effort to get a hold of the audience’s attention and enhance the
position of the museum as a cultural institution that is grounded in, and in-touch with
society. To achieve this, exhibitions are no longer solely created by the curators the
museum employs, but by “outsiders” as well. Dutch museums are increasingly looking for
and creating opportunities of co-creation and collaboration with their audience, thereby
engaging with their audience in participatory activities. The previous case study provides
examples of participatory activities wherein visitors are invited to actively engage with
exhibited content, to share their opinion, discuss it and so forth. This same trend can be
discerned within activities centering on collaboration and co-creation: compared to the
first case-study, these types of activities can be considered as next-level participatory
One quite popular phenomenon is giving national celebrities carte blanche and
letting them create exhibitions that show a story they wish to tell through the collection
of a specific museum. Other museums take the same approach but choose to work with
artists instead. A third option is to open the museum collections to the public and let the
community work with them. Each scenario will be illustrated by a separate notorious
case-study below.
Case-study: De Wereld Draait Door Pop-Up Museum
The “De Wereld Draait Door Pop-Up
Museum” is an initiative by several
Dutch historical and art museums. “De
wereld draait door11” (a word play that
can both mean “the world keeps
spinning” and “the world is going
crazy”) is a Dutch talk-show format
which is focused on news and current
events and is broadcasted each
workday on television. The show has
recurring guests and for the Pop-up
museum, an initiative that will be
realized in January 2015, each guest
has created an exhibition that tells
All eight guest curators in a
broadcast of DWDD
a story based on artefacts and artworks deriving from the repositories of one of the
contributing museums. This type of initiative can be considered as a collaborative project
(Simon 2010, 231): the participants are chosen for their association with the audience of
DWDD, which is one of the best viewed programs on Dutch television. They are asked to
develop an exhibition in cooperation with the participating museums and their
collections, therewith becoming co-owners of the content which is offered in the
programming of the museums (Simon 2010, 232).
The overarching theme is “Hidden Artists”, which can be considered as a play on
the selected works, which were previously inaccessible to the public since they were
stored in repositories, and on the guest-curators formerly unbeknown talent of putting
together a museum exhibition. This also plays into the idea of showing alternative stories
and realities, since the exposed artefacts and artworks are not part of museum’s
mainstream collections. Therefore this initiative can equally be considered as a sign of
From here onwards, De Wereld Draait Door will be referred to as DWDD.
the larger-scale abandonment of a grand-narrative, in favor of smaller and more personal
storylines, which was also illustrated in the Dolhuys study-case.
Case-study: Parelen
“A gulp of air, a dive underwater, spherical blue and then an overwhelming amount of
pearls” – Maarten Doorman12
“Parelen in kunst, natuur en dans” (Pearls in art, nature and dance) was a temporary
exhibition at art museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. It was a commissioned by the museum
and designed by choreographer Karin Post. With the choice of picking an artist as a
curator, the Lakenhal was a trend-setter; since 2012 more museums have followed their
lead. This initiative is similar in nature to the Pop-Up museum and it can also be
considered as a collaborative type of project. The aim of this exhibition was to create an
experimental Gesamtkunstwerk that would illustrate the diversity of beauty: the
exposition itself was a work of art that united and transcended individual disciplines,
such as dance, film, fine arts, music, literature and ethnography. The exhibition also
combined several presentation techniques: it put objects on display (ranging from
historical and contemporary art to animal skeletal material) and it made use of silent
films, audio tracks (musical and narrative) and films and live performances.
By taking this approach, the Lakenhal wished to create a new type of museumexperience: the exhibition would unfold itself as a story, with each new room consisting
Text publisher of the exhibition’s catalogue, see references.
of a new chapter. Each visitor received a headset that contained an audio track narrating
a modern fairytale, written for the exhibition, of a pearl diver’s journey from the Pacific
Ocean to the Northern Atlantic Ocean. This served as a metaphor for different journeys
and transitions, such as the path from South to North, warm to cold, fairytale to reality,
kindness to hostility and culture to nature. This resulted in a highly associative,
conceptual exhibition centered on the symbolic uses of pearls, where all different art
forms, both historical and contemporary, and other disciplines were intertwined by
subtle references.
The pearls in the title, and the “slogan” of the exhibition quoted above, must also
be considered as the inspirational potential the exhibition held for its visitors: the
exhibition was formed into the idea of “offering a dive into a pool of imagination13”.
Visitors were encouraged to share their stories relating to pearls on an online platform.
Two out of a total of ten exhibition spaces. Pictured on the right is one of the live dance
While this exhibition was very innovative in the Dutch museum scene and
therewith is a suiting example of a museum employing an unconventional curator
employing alternative ways of storytelling, it was not so much focused on activating
audience participation. The online platform was articulated as an afterthought, and it
was not given attention in the exhibition itself. However, the visitor numbers have soared
since the exhibition14, and other Dutch museums have followed its lead over the last
years, the Tropenmuseum being the latest museum following this trend with an
exhibition designed by artist Jasper Krabbé in the winter 2014/2015.
Case-study: Kröller-Müller’s Expose and the Mix and Match Museum
This case study is an example of museums asking the community to work with them in a
co-creational type of project. This resembles collaborative projects, with the difference of
lending more power to the participants (Simon 2010, 263-264). The initiative to let
museum audiences be the curators can be considered as a democratizing method to make
the museum a more accessible institution. Dutch museums that have been engaging with
this movement have invited their audience to create exhibitions themselves on the basis
of the collection of the museum in question.
The Kröller-Müller art museum for instance, has digitalized its collection and has created
an online environment where this collection is hosted. Since the launch of this platform,
the museum has repeatedly asked the community to visit the website and select their top
3 favorite artworks. The first edition in 2010 had 1212 responses and the last edition of
this project was carried out in 2012 and had 767 responses. A curator of the KröllerMüller had preselected about 60 works articulated around a specific theme, from which
each participant could selected their favorite top 3. Participants were asked to accompany
their selection by their personal motivation and reasons for choosing the works in
question. The works that were selected the most were then assembled by one of the
curators of the museum and put on display, alongside with signs that stated a selection of
participants’ motivation for selecting these works initially. All top 3’s can be found on the
website of this project15.
Randomly generated Top 3. One of the motivations reads: “What a weird thing. But that
is the fun. It leaves much to your imagination.”
10 | S i d a
It is difficult to explain the exact explanations for this projects initial success and
its decline in participants in the last edition. A factor that heavily influences the number
of participants is of course the theme and its affiliated selection of objects. Some themes
might be more appealing and popular than others, which would explain the fluctuation of
participants. The first time the project was launched, it was accompanied by a youtubevideo which has 902 views, while the last edition did not incorporate youtube or other
video platforms in its marketing strategy. Both initiatives got some coverage on websites
but no large-scale media initiative is traceable.
Mix and Match Museum
An initiative that has taken the idea of community co-creation even further is the “Mix
and Match Museum”. This project is an initiative from six different Dutch museums,
which have all digitalized a part of their collection and published these selections on an
online platform that let people create their own digital exposition. The project was open
for participation until the 10th of January 2015 and had a total of 674 responses. It
allowed every participant to select from a total of 300 objects16 a number of works (the
minimum being 3 and the maximum being 12) from whichever collection they took an
interest in, thus letting
them create
interconnections between
the different collections.
The participants uploaded
their collection and the
storyline they wished to
convey through their
personal selection. During
the Museumweek in May
2015, the expositions with
the most inspiring stories
will be realized and put on
display in the participating
“6 collections, 6 museums, your exhibition!”
The selections that have been made by participants can be viewed online17. In addition to
community participation, the museums have also asked a few high profile members of
Dutch society, such as politicians and celebrities, to send in their exhibition.
Through this project, the public takes over the role of the curator and faces all the
challenges and dilemmas encountered when designing an exhibition. Once they have
uploaded their selection, the participants can discuss these with museum professionals
that work with the participating museums through blogs. It is a unique way to create
cross-sections between the different collections.
Apart from ways of working on increasing visitor numbers, these initiatives can equally
be seen as a shift from the so-called grand narrative towards smaller, more personal and
multi-vocal storylines.
The Mix and Match museum, although having a similar number of participants, was
accompanied by a more elaborate marketing campaign, using several platforms; notably
social media (Twitter and Facebook) and vlogs (video blogs). It was also sponsored by
This selection is still available at:
11 | S i d a
Stichting DOEN, a large foundation that supports Dutch cultural initiatives. This
foundation made posts about this museum project on social media, thereby promoting
the project to a larger audience than the projects’ own social media would have been able
to reach on their own. Since several museums participated in the project, it was
advertised in the separate social media-canals of each museum as well. The project was
thus able to reach a large audience. The Mix and Match did not receive a wide media
coverage, just like Kröller-Müller’s Expose, although its marketing reached out to more
platforms. Most visitors are thus likely to stem from a pool of museum-enthusiasts,
which were already familiar with at least one of the participating museums, and had been
following it on social media. In sum, both projects have reached out, but it is difficult to
pinpoint their success based on their campaigns, which were not (very) extensive.
A possible factor of these projects’ success, apart from the extent of their public
outreach, might be found in the fact they offered a stage for individual expression. One
aspect of both projects was the selection of objects, which was restricted, but the other
component consisted let each participant express their individuality within an
accompanying motivation, storyline etc. As one of the participating museum curators of
the Mix and Match project phrased it; people are usually only free to make their
“museum-choices” in the museum shop, by buying a specific postcard for instance, while
in this initiative, concrete influence on the exhibitions themselves can be exerted18. Plus
there is an added incentive in the promise of the realization of some of the online
exhibition, therewith also introducing an enticing game-element.
12 | S i d a
Dutch Archives
The rise of the online-trend is increasingly leading to a declining number of physical
visitors but has caused a steep increase in online visitors. As a reaction to this
phenomenon, archives have initiated a grand-scale digitalization of analogue source
material. The online archives have become emphasized strongly over the last few years,
causing the physical archives to look for new ways of staying relevant within the public
eye. As a reaction, some archives are altering their profile and are taking up museological
Trend: Museological strategies and education as a flagship product
Dutch archives that are following this trend are increasingly creating expositions based
on the documents they hold. Through these expositions, the archives in question are
stressing their role as educational institutes in a creative way. They are giving a tangible
form to the stories and histories that can be discovered through exploring archival
material using multi-media exposition techniques to lend them more vivacity. The
educational activities are mainly centered on cooperating actively with schools to
familiarize and engage children and students with the archival institute.
Case-Study: The National Archive
The National Archive (Nationaal Archief), located in The Hague, is the largest public
archival institution in The Netherlands, holding “125 kilometers of archival material”
attesting to several centennials of Dutch history19. It has created extensive educational
programs, which targets school groups and individual
students. Each program is tailor-made for specific
grades and levels, ranging from downloadable
content from the archive’s website such as readymade teaching material for teachers and sources that
can be used to create presentations by elementary
school students, to toured visits and workshops at the
archive itself. The educational programs are in most
cases accompaniments of expositions which the
archive puts on display.
The most recent exposition in the National
Archive is a good example of an exhibition that was
embedded within a program created with the
intention of achieving certain learning objectives in a
creative way. This exhibition was titled “Het
Geheugenpaleis: met je hoofd in de archieven” (The
Memory Palace: with your head in the archives). It
was a temporary exhibition established in the fall of
2013 and it was on display for over a year. In 2014 it
has won the English Museums + Heritage Awards for
In this exhibition, eleven short histories were
narrated through the documentation present at the
National Archive, covering roughly a 1000 years of Dutch history. These histories were all
13 | S i d a
taken from a specific era and can all be considered to be the personal histories of
individuals, embedded within larger socio-historical events such as the Second World
War and the VOC-epoch when the Dutch East India Company thrived.
The educational program that accompanied “Het Geheugenpaleis” was aimed at
letting students discover stories behind old documents and teach them how to use these
to discover information and reconstruct specific parts of history. The intention was also
to let them realize the connections between the past and the present and to familiarize
them with their cultural heritage.
The exhibition consisted of eleven spaces, which all narrated one specific story.
Every room thus had a theme illustrated by a story taking place in a specific historical
setting. The oldest dated from the Late Middle Ages and the most recent stemmed from
the 1970s. Each storyline underscored a theme that was significant within its respective
socio-historical context, but the relevance can be considered to transcend the original
context into our own time. One room for instance, was titled “Image building in the
Dutch Golden Age” and centered on the attempts of a 17th century politician to polish his
image as a noble man, despite his common descent. His efforts are traced through several
documents, up until the moment he had become one of the most influential men within
Dutch history: Johan van Oldenbarnevelt.
Each room narrated such a storyline, with archival documents as the main source
of information. This material was supported by objects that played a role within the
story. In addition to this, for each story, an artist had created a piece of work that was put
on display in the exhibition, ranging from videos to live performances.
The displays the archive used were very innovating: next to the original documents
that were displayed in cabinets, the archive made use of interactive displays and tablets
that visitors could use to read the digitalized versions of the documents. The documents
could be magnified, contained more on-demand background information and by clicking
on the lines, transcriptions and translations (in the cases of Old Dutch) were provided.
To get an idea about the lay-out of the exhibition, visit
14 | S i d a
These elements made the exhibition very creative and innovative, which is something the
jury of the aforementioned award mentioned as well20.
“Het Geheugenpaleis” not only subscribes to the movements wherein archives reprofile themselves as institutions with museological characteristics and goals with a
strong orientation on school-focused education. Furthermore, it also showcases features
that were discussed in the section on museum trends: through this exposition the
National Archive expresses an interest in personal histories and lets these alternative
storylines prevail over the grand narrative of Dutch history. On an executional level, the
collaborations with artists, game developers and other producers from the creative
sector, combined with the use of interactive displays stand out and are reminiscent of
developments that are taking place in museums.
Case-study: The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is an archive in Hilversum where Dutch
audio-visual heritage is stored.
The collection contains over
750.000 hours of television, film,
radio emissions and music,
collected from 1898 onwards. It is
one of the largest audiovisual
archives in Europe21. Education is
an important aspect of this
archive, and one of the missions of
the institute is articulated around
distributing what they call “media
wisdom”, which they define as
“the whole of knowledge, skills
and mentality that citizens use to
consciously, critically and actively
take part in a complex, changing
and fundamentally mediatized
world22”. The archive offers
several educational programs
centered on this concept.
The building of the archive in Hilversum
The archive refers to these programs as educative cross-media programs and
products which aim to develop a competence-based approach to be able to operate within
the current “media-society”23. There are programs for school activities, at-home activities
and on-location activities. These are all thematic programs, articulated around current
topics that are relevant for their target group. Moreover, the institute works within
national and international projects on the development and application of, among others,
new technologies for digital preservation, automated retrieval techniques and
international collection and database exchange, in order to assure a high level of
For a summary of the jury report, see
See ’Education’ at
15 | S i d a
A part of the archive, named the “Experience” functions as a museum, where
temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection are put on display. The techniques
used throughout the exhibitions are highly interactive in nature, due to the nature of its
content, the archive works a lot with audio-visual installations, headsets, screens and
gaming facilities. This museological component is used by the archive to render their vast
collection available to the community. Visitors of the “Experience” are invited to actively
participate and engage with the material the archive puts on display. Each visitor receives
a ring with a chip that activates a personal tour provided by a virtual guide at the
entrance of the exposition. Throughout the exposition, devices have been installed which,
when activated by the chip in the ring, can provide on-demand explanations and
background information about certain displays in this part of the Archive. Activities
visitors can participate range from programming television broadcasts, or filming their
own soap opera to producing sound effects for a radio play. Through the ring each visitor
wears, every clip they make during their visit is sent to their personal e-mail address.
Part of “Experience”, the archive’s permanent display of audio-visual material
16 | S i d a
Conclusive remarks
Out of all the case-studies used throughout this report, two clear trends, or tendencies,
emerge; audience participation, in various degrees, and the application and integration
of technological and digital platforms in museum and archive practices. These fit into
strategies of attracting more visitors to Dutch cultural institutions but they must also be
considered as significant in a societal context.
Recently, a commission of the Dutch Museumvereniging (Museumassociation)
published a series of reports commenting on the development and the role of museums
within current Dutch society. The most recent and final report stemming from this
research consists of a commentary on the future role of “the” Dutch museum, which was
identified as a museum of and for people (Putters et al 2014, 16). The commission
established, through interviews with museum professionals and community surveys that
the direction in which museums are looking to develop is offering signifying stories and
imagery in order to provide structure and deepening in a society “wherein the
informationflow is abundant and unfiltered, leaving people in need for help with the
interpretation and validation of the world they live in” (Putters et al 2014, 16). To realise
this potential, museums should be closely engaged with their audience and the
community at large, in order to be and remain meaningful to them (Putters et al 2014,
17). Museums are seen as contributors to the development of general competences such
as exploratory learning and collaborating with others, but above all, museums are
considered crucial in stimulating creativity, in stimulating the imagination and in the
acquiring new insights through confrontations with the past (Putters et al 2014, 36).
The trends and developments mentioned throughout this report can thus be
considered as symptomatic expressions of a particular societal role which is increasinly
attributed to the museum as a cultural and educative institute. By considering
expositions as articulations of societal functions and purposes, some light can be shed
about the way Dutch society is positioning itself and which values and worldviews it
emphasizes. The multivocality advocated in recent discussed museological displays is an
example of this. Likewise, the recurring and profound extent of community participation
is not merely a museum gimmick to attract larger audiences, it is an expression of the
emphasis on the valorisation of active and participative citizens as a prevailing social
identity. Cultural institutions are reaching out to their audiences and are exploring new
canals to do so. The progressive technology offers new possibilities to extend their reach
as far as possible and in addition to this, it allows new creative initiatives to involve
communities actively in institutes’ practices.
17 | S i d a
Commissie Asscher-Vonk, Musea voor morgen, Nederlandse
Museumvereniging/Vereniging van Rijksgesubsidieerde Musea (Amsterdam, 2012).
Commissie Putters, K., et al, Musea voor Mensen, Nederlandse Museumvereniging
(Amsterdam, 2014).
Doorman, M. et al, Parelen in kunst natuur en dans (Leiden, 2012).
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap, Bewaren om teweeg te brengen
(Woerden 2005).
Simon, S., The participatory museum (Santa Cruz, 2010).
Van Os, P., Breukel maakt raadsel van gekte, NRC, 25 april 2014.
Websites, consulted on 12 January 2015., consulted on 12 January 2015., consulted on 12 January 2015., consulted on 13 January 2015., consulted on 13 January 2015., consulted on 13 January 2015., consulted on 13 January 2015., consulted on 14 January 2015., consulted on 14 January 2015., consulted on 14 January 2015., consulted on 14 January 2015., consulted on 15 January
2015., consulted on 15 January 2015., consulted on 15 January 2015., consulted on 20 January 2015.
18 | S i d a
P. 3:
P. 4: Van Os, P., Breukel maakt raadsel van gekte, NRC, 25 april 2014, hosted on
P. 5:
P. 6:
P. 7:
P. 8:,,
P. 9:
P. 10: Screenshot taken from the website
P. 11: Screenshot taken from the website
P. 13:
P. 14:
P. 15:
P. 16:,
19 | S i d a