Changing the way we work to enhance participation
Lessons learned at the Van Gogh Museum
The essence of a museum is offering relevance to its audiences though its collections. If you can’t offer relevance, nobody will participate. But, the world around us is changing rapidly. How to stay relevant? At the Van Gogh Museum we asked ourselves: how adaptive is our internal organization to keep up speed with this changing world?ow
Like most museums the Van Gogh Museum has a departmental organization and a hierarchal structure. This works well in participation of people who are already curious. The Van Gogh Museum has a growing attendance (over 2 million visitors in 2017) and worldwide reputation. But insight grew that we needed another way of working to enhance participation for those audiences who have inclusion barriers. Audiences that are small in participation percentage of museums, but big in societies.
Two years ago the Van Gogh Museum changed its way of working to improve participation:
- We work in cross departmental teams who have joint KPI’s to improve the participation of a certain audience. We have such teams for Youths, Young adults, Disabled, Vulnerable Seniors, and Migrants
- We work with the audience. This helps us to keep up to date with the quickly changing world around us.
- We use research and collaboration with universities to understand the impact we have on audiences. Thus improving the narrative and proposition.
Marthe de Vet, Head of Education & Interpretation of the Van Gogh Museum will share the lessons learned.