Het Van Gogh Museum, een ‘relaxte verbinder’ of toch anders? Een analyse van de relatie tussen het Van Gogh Museum en haar publiek
In line with the shift in the recent decades in how museums actively engage with the public, this research focuses on the relationship between one of the most well-known museums in The Netherlands, the Van Gogh Museum and it’s public. The relationship between one specific museum and its public hasn’t been subject of research before in museum theory. That’s why this research focuses on the research question: Which factors influence the relationship between the Van Gogh Museum and it’s public and what are the underlying values? This question is answered by an analysis of the policy of the Van Gogh Museum in Het Strategisch Plan 2014-2017 (2014), the way the museum executes this policy as discussed in ‘de kernopdracht’of Het Strategisch Plan 2014-2017 (2014) and an analysis of the way the department of Education and the Marketing department approach the museum public. To answer this question, this research makes use of a self-constructed value frame and Becker’s analysis of the art world and his interpretation of the concepts conventions and collectivity in Art Worlds (1982). The most important museum values are combined in the value frame. The economic values, the experience values, the social values, the health values and the cognitive values from the research of Pascal Gielen in De Waarde van Cultuur (2014) and the institutional values of Caroll A. Scott in Exploring the Evidence Base for Museum Value (2009) are part of this value frame. By using the method of text analysis, the underlying values in the policy of the Van Gogh Museum, in the execution of the policy and in the way the museum approaches its public becomes clear. I’m using the interpretation of Becker’s art world by Hans van Maanen to analyses the organizational processes, the departments who are involved and the conventions which form the basis for this collaboration. Hans van Maanen distinguishes in How to Study Art Worlds. On the Societal Functioning of Aesthetic Values (2005) seven steps in the collective process that constitutes the art world. From these seven steps, a pattern of values can be interpreted. From the analysis, it becomes clear that in the policy of the Van Gogh Museum, the institutional values and the social values are the most important values on which the Van Gogh Museum has formulated its policy. This means that the museum focuses on internal processes like research and the management of the collection on one hand, and are looking for a connection with the public on the other hand. This is in small contrast with the value pattern that is the result of the analysis of the organizational processes, the departments who are involved and the conventions on which these collaborations take place. Experience values and institutional values are in the results of this analysis the most important values. Social values disappear more into the background. This becomes clear in the way the department of Education and the department of Marketing are approaching the public, work together with different departments and in the conventions, that form the basis for these collaborations. From the analysis, it can be concluded that the Van Gogh Museum wants to connect with the visitor by using its authority on knowledge about Van Gogh and his collection as an instrument. Social values and institutional values are the most important values for the Van Gogh Museum. From the collaboration of the different departments it becomes clear that the museum offers in exhibitions an educational and entertaining experience to its visitors. This means that social values are put into the background and experience values and institutional values are more important in the relationship between the public and the museum. If the museum wants to connect with its visitors, it must incorporate forms of participation into its public policy. This would result in a shift from an emphasis on institutional values to an emphasis on social values.
Faculteit der Letteren