by • 5 Jul, 2011 • Thoughts about museumsComments (18)9011

Bumpy rides and dead-end streets

Rails End.....
Photo by Auntie G on

Those of you, who know a bit about the history of the museum I work for, know it has always been a topic of national debate. Ever since the project started, it has known times of fierce debate between opposing parties in the government. It has been a bumpy ride.

Has been, indeed, as over the past weeks the secretary of state responsible for culture decided to stop funding for a considerable number of arts and culture institutions. Almost every organisation that dared to be different, to educate future generations or discover the future of arts and culture suffers, greatly. There’s also a VAT increase on tickets and other cultural products, making arts and culture less accessible to the general audience.

My employer, the Museum of National History, is one of the institutions that will not get funding anymore. January 1st of 2012 the museum will cease to exist. It’s a pity, and a loss, but there’s nothing more we can do about it. The adventure is over.

The museum had been my home for over two years and I do believe we were still only at the beginning. Projects like xwashier, 100m2NL and our INNL network showed our thoughts about the future of museums, but in themselves were only steps towards the realisation of our vision. We could have done so much more.

We could have done so much more, especially because of the people I had the good fortune to work with. In my presentations I usually praise my directors for their ambition and vision, but the team also consists of the most audience-focused curators, stress-resistant project manages, thorough researchers etc. I’ve ever worked with. Plus, they were fun. All the great projects on this blog are the result of their work. I often merely wrote them down.

Which leads to the projects. We never had a building or collection, but we do have some cool projects, such as the National Vending Machine. The coming months we will look for a decent home for them. How we will do this, I will let you know later, but rest assured that we will do our utmost to keep our projects accessible to the audience.

Lastly, I believe the unique challenge of building a museum in the 21st century, with a strong focus on innovation, has taught us a lot about the future of cultural institutions. One of the things I liked most about my job was the opportunity I got to share our experiences and knowledge with others in the field. I would love to continue doing so in the coming months.

I believe all change is always for the better. And I believe that when things are being stirred, opportunities arise. In short: I’m an optimist. Yet it’s no fun to see two years full of hard work disappear by government decree. I will keep this blog up and have a long list of things I should still write about, so here at least the ride continues. At least, for a while. Thanks for reading this, following our adventure and see you soon,


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