Reflections on ‘Visible Thinking in the Mauritshuis’

By Lorna Cruickshanks I was recently lucky to have the opportunity to join the special edition two-day ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum' training led by Claire Bown of Thinking Museum with co-host Gundy van Dijk in the Mauritshuis. Having worked in audience participation for a number of UK museums over the years, the practice of facilitating and encouraging interactive and creative engagement with collections was not new to me, but the particular approach of Visible Thinking was. Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching and learning developed within schools by Project Zero in the early 2000s, which Claire Bown has

Weekend Trip Tip: The Kröller-Müller Museum and the Hoge Veluwe National Park

By Danielle Carter Just a couple hours east of Amsterdam lies the green heart of the Netherlands: the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The park boasts several endangered species in the Netherlands, a diverse range of wildlife, and three different landscapes: heath and grasslands, sand drift, and forests. Due to human manipulation of the land (such as farming and the digging of canals and dykes in the Middle Ages), these landscapes in the Netherlands have changed quite drastically and several native species have become extinct or are severely threatened. The Hoge Veluwe National Park preserves Dutch terrain at its peak under human

Tiny Treasures: Intricate Dutch Carvings at the Rijksmuseum

Exhibition Review of 'Small Wonders', June 17 - September 17 2017, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. By Danielle Carter Although the glory of the Dutch Golden Age seems to garner the most attention (and museum-space) throughout the Netherlands, and particularly in Amsterdam, a new exhibition at the Rijksmuseum concentrates on painstakingly intricate carvings from the late Middle Ages. The exhibition includes inexplicably tiny figurines, prayer nuts, skulls, coffins, and altarpieces, all of which are masterfully carved. Even by today’s standards, the carvings go above and beyond the call of duty. I recently stumbled upon the intricate ‘Thai carvings’ of a Japanese artist named Gaku,

Portraits Laid Bare: Rineke Dijkstra at the Stedelijk Museum

Exhibition review of Rineke Dijkstra: An Ode, 20 May – 06 August 2017, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. by Eve Kalyva Rineke Dijkstra’s exhibition at the Stedelijk is a must see. The vast space of the museum’s upper galleries is always a challenge – what from the outside looks like a bathtub was, after all, the largest free standing exhibition space in Europe at the time of its construction in 2012. In an effort to maximise space use, curators usually overcompensate by putting up shows that are dense and heavy with exhibits.     Dijkstra’s exhibition is an exception. There are relatively few

Between Fairy-tale and Reality: Romanovs & Revolution at the Hermitage Amsterdam

by Eve Kalyva 1917 is the year of the Revolution. Telling the story from the point of view of the imperial family of Tzar Nicholas II, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents the exhibition 1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy (4 February – 17 September 2017). The exhibition is impressive not only because of the variety of items on display, but also in terms of how these are put together. Over 250 items including paintings, photographs, objets d’art and historical documents are carefully arranged throughout the rooms. These narrate key events from the life of the tzar and his choices and

Working with Families: Thinking Outside of the Box with Play

by Danielle Carter When we think of play in the museum setting, we often think of science museums where children can experiment with scientific concepts through play, or museums that are made specifically for children. With this perception, it seems that play has no role in the traditional art museum; how can we make play attractive for our younger visitors? How can we engage in play that’s appropriate for the museum environment? And how can we get  adults involved in play too? First of all, we need to break down our understanding of what play is and what it can be.

Visible Thinking in Archives

by Aniko Kovecsi A recent encounter with the concept of Visible Thinking (VT) inspired this brief piece about its applicability in an archival setting. I recently participated in a 2-day training organised by the Amsterdam based Thinking Museum (held at the Jewish Museum in London, April, 2017). The participants were mainly museum and education professionals, so I complemented the team profile as an education officer affiliated with a Cold War and human rights archive, Blinken OSA. The training proved to be very interesting and engaging, introducing participants to the concept and components of Visible Thinking - both in theory

5 Reasons Why Looking at Art Builds Strong and Successful Teams

by Claire Bown Maybe looking at art is not the first thing that springs to mind when we talk about sharpening transferable skills and building strong teams, but art-based activities in museums centred around discussing art and museum objects are becoming increasingly popular for company team events. We've been running our Artful Looking for more than 3 years and have designed a huge variety of museum programmes for companies large and small based on their personal objectives. We firmly believe that looking at (and discussing) art builds strong and successful teams and here's our top 5 reasons why.. 1. Anyone

The Smells of Art – Olfactory Experiences at the Stedelijk Museum

by Eve Kalyva Did you ever think that a museum visit would start with smelling coffee beans? This is what I found at the entrance of #artSmellery, a brief olfactory experience set up at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The concept was simple: choose six paintings, make a fragrance for each and put it on display. The works selected were Vincent van Gogh’s Vase with Carnations (1886), Roy Lichtenstein’s As I Open Fire (1964), Leo Gestel’s Reclining Nude (1913), Marc Chagall’s The Violinist (1912), Kazimir Malevich’s An Englishman in Moscow (1914) and Piet Mondrian’s Composition no. IV, with Red, Blue and Yellow


5 (Unexpected!) Museums to Visit in Rotterdam

by Danielle Carter If you love museums as much as we do at Thinking Museum, you will be delighted to discover that Amsterdam is not the only place with museums to love in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is a great option if you are looking for a day trip from Amsterdam during your stay in the Netherlands. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Contrary to the Rijksmuseum, which largely relies on state support and many state- or city-owned artworks, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen takes its names from two of the most important private collectors who have donated to the museum, F.J.O. Boijmans (1767-1847)