Heritage Management

The JANUS Initiative seeks to understand how the past informs and orients us on possible, probable and preferable futures. This is the actuality of the past-in-the-present.

A major cultural and economic sector today is the heritage industry. Museums, media, tourist sites, offer experiences of the past-in-the-present. They are usually centered upon cultural property and ownership – “this is our past, not yours”.

Case study: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museums worldwide show only 8% of their collections to the public. The rest is locked away.  Imagine how we might open up a museum to democratic access, with everyone as a curator, everyone having a stake in shared pasts.

Located in the heart of the city of Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands, built from the passions of private collectors. It is the only art museum in The Netherlands where visitors can travel through time, exploring art from the 14th century to the 21st; from Bosch, Rembrandt and Cézanne to Dalí and contemporary Dutch Design. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is international in focus, including works by American artists such as Warhol, Rothko, Basquiat and Serra and is widely known for its design collection, surrealist art, for its prints and drawings, and for its daring experiments in exhibition design. 

At Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, when the time came to upgrade storage, they let their imagination run free. They imagined a place where 100% of the collection is available to everyone, where people will be free to explore on their own, making their way through a buzzing beehive of activity where artworks packed and unpacked, restored and studied in dazzling quantities.

They imagined how to open up the museum to complete democratic access, with everyone as a curator.

Rotterdam architect Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, one of the world’s great architecture studios, designed an extraordinary forty-meter high silvered bowl — the world’s first public art Collections Depot that breaks with museum standards and gives unlimited access to 150,000 artifacts.

Discussion at mshanks.com – [Link]

The Depot in early April 2020 – mirrors in place – [Link]
A conversation with Director Sjarel Ex about the new Collections Depot.