Culture Council gives negative recommendation regarding Tropenmuseum
The Culture Council has advised the Junior Minister for Culture
to stop structural OCW subsidy for Tropenmuseum Junior (TMJ). TMJ
gathers material and immaterial collections from non-Western cultures.
Its expositions include objects, stories and knowledge about other
cultures, tailored to attract children in the ages of 6 to 12.
The Council says in its recommendation that the theatrical productions
and educational function of TMJ are of 'high quality'. According
to the Council, however, the museum's activities are not sufficiently
museum-like, are not of national importance, no longer serve as
an example, and should be fully incorporated into the Tropenmuseum
itself. What is more, the 'dress-up method' used in the current
museum education is open to discussion: 'whether this renders the
desired identification among the target group is questionable'.
Annemies Broekgaarden, head of TMJ, calls the advice 'incomprehensible'.
She says: 'the activities are certainly museum-like'. In a writ
of objection submitted to the Council, she asserts: 'What we deal
with is immaterial heritage. This means that we have a different
relationship with the public and use different means of transfer
than museums that are object-oriented. The Tropenmuseum would not
question, as the Council does, whether 'getting dressed up is old
fashioned', but rather whether the approach used by TMJ contributes
to enhancing museums' knowledge and expertise with reference to
transfer techniques that protect the immaterial heritage.'
Regarding the assertion of no longer serving as an example, the
writ says: 'Is an example merely an example if it is copied exactly,
or may it also be a permanent source of inspiration? TMJ is still
welcoming museum colleagues from both the Netherlands and other
countries who come to be inspired by its working methods.'
Twenty percent of TMJ's budget is received as OCW subsidy. The
rest is already incorporated into KIT Tropenmuseum, which is subsidised
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the OCW subsidy is no longer
available, TMJ cannot guarantee that it will remain fully open.
'While the demand is greater than the supply,' according to Broekgaarden.
'We have already had to say 'no' to thirty schools this year.'