Touching Van Gogh


Enjoying a sunny day on the Museumsplein

We visited the famed Van Gogh Museum today and learned about the some of the ways they are addressing accessibility for the changing world and for the sight-impaired.


But first, a proper coffee break (I love the hospitality in this country!):

The presentations began with Ghanima Kowsoleea and a discussion of the changing demographics of Amsterdam: How do they continue to arouse the curiosity of youth? They came up with programs like Vincent on Friday, a series of workshops, tours, discussions, and activities on Friday evenings with a youth focus.


Looking again critically at the population, they decided they could connect better with young migrant adults. They decided to use co-design with the target group, work cross-departmentally, fund research for themselves and for management, and ride the learning curve for all of it.

Ghanima presents VGM findings

They developed Verkeerd Verbonden to connect young migrant adults to the museum to explore topics of colonialism, language and color, and representation. They're billing it as: 3 Friday afternoons, 3 troublesome topics, 1 renewed exhibition.

Ann talks about work with sight-impaired visitors

Ann Blokland explained how their research also showed that the sight-impaired were underserved and that their tour guides will ill-prepared to address accessibility issues. They created an interactive tour experience, Feeling Van Gogh, in which visitors are paired with specially-trained guides to talk about permanent collection and then explore the Van Gogh through the senses such as feeling a painting reproduction, a 3D diorama, and smell aspects of his subjects, such as wet grass, tobacco, and anise.


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