Accessibility is high on the agenda of Dutch museums, especially since the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this article, the Van Gogh Museum shares how accessibility has been tackled organization-wide. How does the integrated approach to accessibility throughout the organization work? As a case study, the museum presents the developments in the field of accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors. This started with research carried out by Roos Wattel (Wat Telt!) about the needs of this particular target group. After this, action was taken toward the production of a multimedia guide in sign language. The museum shares research results and practical tips and tricks toward an inclusive museum sector.
This qualitative study draws on the literature on critical thinking and use of discomfort or struggle as a pedagogical tool to probe the impact and efficacy of discomfort as a tool for learning in museum spaces, specifically in the context of anti-racist education. Museum educators were observed teaching from content that treats race and subsequently interviewed to clarify some of their choices. Data revealed a tension between the educators’ appreciation for critical thinking and struggling with challenging content in theory and implementation of those tools in practice.
As societies around the world change, museums strive to become more inclusive for the growing number of people with a migrant background. However, academic literature on this topic is scarce. With their Van Gogh Connects programme, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (VGM) is keen to understand what is required to become more relevant to this target group. The VGM also wants to understand what is required in terms of governance to make the relevance and inclusion sustainable. The VGM gains insight into the matter using both impact research and a series of iterative activities involving the target group. This article outlines the results of the first case study and draws some initial conclusions that can be used to start working toward the sustainable inclusion of youths with a migrant background.